Plant today, collect tomorrow

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Albert Hernandez
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Up until a couple of years ago, I lived a rather comfortable life. I was enrolled in the engineering program at one of the best universities in Colombia. I lived with my mother and grandmother, who always took care of all responsibilities at home, and I spent many hours a week with family and friends. I never worried about wasting time or money on transportation since I attended classes just a couple blocks away from home. Although I was grateful for all the blessings in my life, I always felt motivated to challenge myself for more. I dreamed of an opportunity that would push me to accomplish greater goals.

Opportunity knocked on my door in February 2016 when my father, who lived in Miami, proposed the idea of me immigrating to the U.S. to pursue my higher education. This proposal did not only mean leaving my family behind, but it would also be a big risk because I was not proficient in English nor had any higher education opportunities secured. As far as I knew, I could be exchanging an outstanding institution at home for nothing overseas. However, there was also the potential of me attending a recognized institution in the U.S., so I challenged myself and moved in July 2016.

The Planting Year

Just as expected, my first year was the hardest and my life totally changed overnight. My responsibilities increased as well as my maturity. Academically, I enrolled in Miami Dade College’s English for Academic Purposes (EAP) program, which my adviser said I’d need over two years to complete. Psychologically, I had no friends in the city and my mom was thousands of miles away from helping me emotionally. My dad also constantly reminded me that life here was harder and that I needed to work even harder to accomplish anything. I considered quitting countless times, but instead I decided to do everything I could to succeed. With the help of my professors, I sought resources to complete the EAP program faster and connected with the Honors program on my campus. During that first year, I devoted myself to “plant” myself wherever I could in order to accomplish my goals. I understood that success comes over time, and in order to collect the fruit of my efforts, I needed to plant them first.

The Collecting Year

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