Summer 2022 Intern: Yaritza Sanchez Castrejon
- Published In: Other News & Features
- Last Updated: Jun 18, 2022
As a first-generation Latina college student, I have struggled with and overcome significant hurdles. I was born and raised in Denver, Colorado, but my parents are from Guerrero, Mexico, and primarily speak Spanish. I was only 10-years-old when I started translating government paperwork for them, and more recently, it has been difficult for me to explain the challenges I face in college.
From the time I started school, I strove to excel academically so that I could one day earn a college degree. I knew it was a pathway to a successful life, one without the financial stress that my parents endured every day. My mom held down two jobs as a cook and worked about 80 hours per week, while my dad completed 40 hours at his landscaping job and then found side hustles on the weekend to make ends meet. They left early in the morning and returned late at night. My parents wanted a better life for me. I did, too.
Today, I am a 20-year-old rising senior at the University of Colorado Boulder, where I am majoring in sociology. I want to be the person I most needed growing up: someone who is there to offer wisdom and guidance when things get tricky, but also someone who is there to celebrate victories large and small.
Through my internship with the Wyoming Truth, I have an opportunity to help advocate for people who share my background and to be a catalyst for change. I want to help other first-generation Latina students advocate for themselves when they do not understand a document or simply need to have a candid conversation with a professor about their grade. I want to help them develop the confidence to recognize they have rights that should be respected. Additionally, I want to help children of color who experience discrimination due to racial profiling.
I can draw on my own experiences to understand the struggles of others while still respecting their story, their perspective, their hopes and their dreams. During my internship, I plan to use the skills I develop to fight injustice and inequality wherever I go. I am ready to make a difference.