When they called a meeting at work asking to attend with an object that was special in her life, Jocelin Almaguer-Barron, who works in the Office of Student Services at Southwestern College, brought her passports.
The young woman from Tijuana, who was excited, said, “That moment when I had to analyze the things that had special value to for me, I knew the special meaning that my passports have because their existence represents some of the most transcendent aspects of my life, key moments that led me to be what I am now.”
Moving to the U.S. at the age of 21 forced her to deal with difficulties, feelings, and experiences she could never have anticipated, which, in the context of the celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, reflects and recognizes her as a member of this community.
“We should celebrate our resiliency, persistence, and drive to excel and advance at work this month. I could never have imagined myself in the situation I am in right now. If I reflect on the past, I am trying to remember ever speaking a foreign language or being the only Latina student in my class at a university. Despite this, I managed to do it.”
Jocelin remembers that it was difficult to settle in when she first arrived in this country. She received her bachelor’s degree in organization and leadership from Point Loma Nazarene University in 2021 and graduated with honors. “At one point, I couldn’t afford rent, so I had to cross the border daily to get to work from Tijuana. Then, to have more free time for studying and my job, I could rent a tiny apartment with a friend where I slept in the living room. I now intend to get a master’s degree.”
“I can claim that despite having grown up close to the border, I arrived without knowing the language or the culture because it is quite different when you live here. I intended to attend the UABC for my studies, pursue a career as a psychologist, and work for the DIF, but I wanted to take the chance to visit and benefit from every opportunity. When I arrived, I didn’t feel part of this world; perhaps it was something personal. My world was different.”
“The heritage that Hispanics have is enriched with each generation because as the years pass, the new generations contribute experiences different from those of our grandparents, and we are creating a new way of living from Hispanics. We also strive to promote the growth of those who will come after us; we encourage coexistence, and in this way, we strengthen as a community,” Jocelin said.