On Friday, July 15, The 2016 Dreamer Conference held a College Dreamer Panel at Teachers College, Columbia College. I had a chance to sit in and listen to what our Dreamer Scholar’s (college students) advice was about entering college. Other dreamers from different states also sat in on the panel and were able to ask many different question that would help them prepare for college. The panel of students included Cristian Gonzalez, Jonathan Ortiz, Ricardo Mejia, Cindy Lopez, Fabian Rodriquez, Zekiiyah Joyner, and Rabia Koureissi; all a mix of dreamer’s from our DeHostos-Wise and Ravenswood II program. We also had a chance to hear a few words of advice from an Alumni Dreamer from the first Ravenswood program, Sandra Guerra. Sandra Guerra was the first in her family to go to college, complete a bachelor’s degree, and get her masters in social work. She is a true inspiration and role model to us younger dreamers. Sandra also wishes to strengthen and grow the “I Have a Dream” Alumni network and hopes that younger dreamers continue to have opportunities and programs that leads them to a better future.
After listening to Sandra, all students introduced themselves by stating their names, college, and their major. Many questions were asked, such as “how did you overcome challenges?”, “how do you know what major to choose?” and even “how are college parties?”. Each student’s answers were different and unique, which was great because it taught us that there is not one specific way to attack college. We also got to hear stories about when our Dreamer Scholars were at their lowest point and how they managed to overcome the obstacles they faced and finish their first year strong. Dreamer Scholar, Rabia Koureisisi, shared an interesting way she overcame an obstacle she faced in college. When Rabia first attended Villanova University she felt like she didn’t fit in because the majority of students were caucasian. On top of feeling like she didn’t fit in, she also experienced racism on campus. Rabia had many moments where she wanted to give up and go home because she was at her lowest point, but instead of giving in to the negativity, she turned her experience into a positive movement and created a club called “Different-Nova”. This club is empowering students of different cultural backgrounds to come together and raise awareness about diversity.
Listening to them share their thoughts and stories was very inspirational; hopefully it encouraged our younger dreamers to keep working hard so they can get to where they want to be in the future!