17 Things Undocumented College Students Need to Know

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“I think it’s important to move people beyond just dreaming, into doing. They have to be able to see that you are just like them, and you made it.” – Justice Sonia Sotomayor
For my undocumented, DACAmented, and TPS brothers and sisters. Adelante!

There are several things I wish someone would’ve told me when I started my college career three years ago. Today, I am sharing them with you as you take another step closer to your college degree.

  1. E M B R A C E  yourself and your story. Owning the story of how you got to this country will liberate and motivate you to keep going when things get hard.
  2. Protect your mental health like your parents have protected you. An unhealthy lifestyle could lead you to the dark places you’ve been to before. You’re health needs to be a priority.
  3. T R A V E L! Whether is to another state or a study abroad program. Do your research and do it. We deserve those experiences as much as everyone else.
  4. There will be nights that you need to rant about how shitty it is to be an undocumented student. Rant on! Surround yourself with people who will listen and support you.
  5. N O  H U M A N  I S  I L L E G A L!
  6. During a moment of weakness you may wonder if the headaches and sacrifices are worth it. Just remember that your hard work doesn’t go unnoticed. It will be worth it when you walk across that stage and your parents’ eyes light up with pride and joy.
  7. B E  H U M B L E & B E  G R A T E F U L! You will meet some of the most caring and loving human beings who will mentor you and help you; thank them! Share what they teach you with others in your situation.
  8. Strengthen the relationship you have with your parents. During these four years you will realize how much your parents have done for you. They might not have always been supportive of all your decisions, but at the end of the day everything they’ve done has been out of love.
  9. Do not be afraid to ask for help. Whether you need a tutor, scholarships, or a meal swipe, simply A S K!
  10. Rejection may suck, but it’s a good thing.  I learned to see rejection as a sign from God, stopping me from taking the wrong path, career, opportunity, etc. Better things are on your way.
  11. Connect with other students like you by joining FB pages like Scholarships Opportunities for Undocumented Students and DREAMer Jobs. Follow blogs like My (Un)Documented Life.
  12. Be Brown and Be Proud. It is easy to lose sight of your true identity when you’re trying to fit in like everyone else, especially in predominantly white institutions. It’s a blessing and honor to be Latinx. Be Brown, Be Proud, Be You!
  13. Network, network, and network some more. Our parents don’t always have the connections to get us internships or jobs. Therefore, it is up to you to make your network as big as you can.
  14. It is not your responsibility to represent or speak for all us. There is too much pressure added to our lives already to carry the pressure of being the spokesperson for a community of 11 million immigrants. But, do love and advocate for your community however you wish to do so.
  15. T H I N K  B I G! See yourself as a CEO, doctor, governor, entrepreneur, professor, etc. Your current status will try to hold you back, but you’ve got to keep fighting. You belong in those positions and spaces. An entire community is eager to see you succeed.
  16. Allow yourself to live. I know most of your energy is devoted to being a FT student working either one or three jobs. Going out may not always be what you want to do, but you’re young and you deserve to let loose and have fun, too.
  17. I’m proud of you! I know it wasn’t easy to be where you are right now or maybe you’re not where you wish you were, but you are still standing. Life has placed thousands of obstacles in your path, yet you’re still reaching for your goals. Don’t stop dreaming.
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12 thoughts on “17 Things Undocumented College Students Need to Know

  1. It all sounds good except for the traveling abroad part. When you are residing illegally in a country you can’t leave or you would have to enter illegally again and it’s not easy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Mela, yes I agree 100%. I’ve never been able to travel abroad even with DACA. It’s something I long for to do someday. That point was more for those who can, to take advantage of such privilege.

      Like

    2. Well if you’re a DACA student then you are allowed to leave with permission of Immigration when you file & get accepted due to Advance Parole

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      1. Hi, do you know where an undocumented high school student could find more information? I’m a high school senior and applying for colleges this year. Is there anywhere online (or even here) where I could find tips for someone in my position?
        Thank you!

        Like

  2. Great tips. I really need to read this type of positive lines. I’m a FT student and a father with two part time jobs. Believe me it’s really hard. Specially when you sleep in the lecture classes. Anyway. If some of you can provide me scholarships information for undocumented student. I will appreciate it. elnanusdf@yahoo.com

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  3. Just a random daca student from Oklahoma passing through… I love this list and your blog overall. Thank you! I’ve been struggling these past few months and I really appreciate blogs like yours

    Like

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