Being AB-540 is a label for undocumented students, but being a dreamer is an undocumented student who is determined to surpass the limits that we are faced with today and seek possibilities for a brighter and more successful tomorrow. There is a fair amount of AB-540 students but there is but a handful of dreamers. The term dreamer came to be with the DREAM Act which would grant AB-540 student a path into citizenship by going into higher education.
I have overcome obstacles regarding financing my college education by seeking for scholarships and programs that give stipends. There are plenty of scholarships available to the AB-540 community but most of the time they are not being taken advantage of. I had to try twice as hard if not more than documented students to finance my education after high school. I applied to more scholarships than I could remember during my senior year in high school and I continue to apply to them now. I received a guaranteed scholarship from a program called College is Real. I was granted the Ed Fund Scholarship which requires effort even after being awarded. Later I came to know that I also was awarded a scholarship from Summer Math and Science Honors Academy, a summer program I attended at Stanford University. I was denied most of my scholarships but that only motivated to apply to more so I can improve my chances. My parents nor my family could contribute to my college fund because they are not in a financially stable state. I am not eligible for state funding which pushed me to seek outside sources for the financial help.
If I could do things over I would have prepared before senior year. I could have done personal fund raising for my education. Simple things like selling candy or other goods could have made up for the purchase of a book or two now. I could have asked my family for financial support before I graduated high school so that it gave them time to earn money for my education. Raising funds for such an expensive cause take time and planning. During my high school education I was not thinking about how I would pay for college, I just knew I would make it there no matter what. It was a good idea to live by but it did not help me when I had to organize myself with the expenses I was going to have to pay. I look back now and notice that I had a lot of free time to plan my finding and include my own efforts.
To someone who is facing the same situation, I would advise them to take planning seriously and make time for raising money towards your education because in the end it will pay off way more. Be sure to start brainstorming ideas and take action in order to avoid stress.
-Maria, UC Davis ’16