Bienvenidos a Turabo

What did I want to do with my life. 18 year old shannon sat there saying “well I don’t know”. You see I was the rock of the family at that time. The oldest child who helped out a lot while my mom was at work. I maintained good grades, and worked, and watched my sister. So from ages 14-18 my life was based on that. I didn’t think of the future because it seemed so far off. Plus the idea of potentially abandoning my family was daunting. I had ideas of what I wanted to study and be but they just seemed like ideas nothing to shoot for. I thought maybe I could work in business, or as a translator, or a ESL teacher. But I couldn’t think of following any of those things. However when my grandfather showed up for my graduation the idea of becoming an engineer was put into my mothers head, and with me being agreeable to a fault. I agreed. Being awful at math never seemed like it would be a problem. Anyway off I went. The big trick was I wouldn’t be going to school in my hometown, not even my home state. I was moving to Puerto Rico. Where I was born, and where my family was from. This was done for financial reasons. I had no chance of getting out of college without racking up massive amounts of debt, Puerto Rico offered the same quality of education at a drastically different price point.

So I broke up with my high school boyfriend, packed up my shit, and quit my job after graduation. I was spiteful for awhile, but had a job immediately. Which helped a lot. Waitressing and bartending was easily the best way to make friends fast.

But work is another story. My college was all in Spanish. What language do I speak? English. My first day of college I was so nervous I threw up my entire breakfast. The idea of being so different and not just a little bit but to the point where communication couldn’t even be done. Soon I had realized some of those fears were completely unfounded. But others helped me…. a lot. Through the four years in college my skin had to get tough. Despite being Puerto Rican I had to face becoming the “gringa”. My professors for the most part hated me. I was an inconvenience. And in typical Puerto Rican behavior they had no problem letting me know I was an inconvenience to them. Within the first semester each of my professors told me to get out of their class, to go home, or that I was “special”. It was completely discouraging. But I persisted. Of course as most college students do I changed my major to psychology.

Four years later, I have my degree. I had shocked many of my professors by graduating and spending a good amount of my free time doing speeches about accepting each other’s differences and how diversity improves the quality of lives. Through my years in school I made some great connections, even in different countries.

So what seemed like a daunting task at the time turnt out to be one of the best things I could’ve done. As typical Shannon I proved people wrong. Mostly out of spite. But whatever.

Also even though I’m doing my masters in this school, I don’t recommend Universidad Del Turabo.

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