This I Believe…Anayeli Nieves

“I believe that you have to care deeply about everything you do.

I am going to become a first-generation college student this fall. I am the oldest of three siblings. My parents can’t afford to pay college tuition for me. When I started high school, I thought high school would be the end of education for me. As the years went by, I tried hard and did the best that I could, engaged in extracurricular activities, and it has paid off.

My mom got through half of high school, and my dad only completed grade school back home in Mexico. My parents came here from Mexico about 20 years ago for better employment opportunities. They have encouraged us to work hard and we have.

I have been working at Schneider Law for four and a half years now. I do reception work and word processing work. I am saving for college and trying not to depend on my parents. It gives me a feeling of independence.

I want to go to law school and practice criminal defense. When I was younger, one of my mom’s brothers was arrested for attempted robbery. It was a hard time for all of our family. I felt like I wasn’t contributing much. The whole time we were going through the process, I didn’t have the ability to help the people that I loved. That experience has made me feel like I want to be a criminal defender, specializing in juvenile defense.

Going to law school is not cheap and it’s not easy. It’s not an easy environment to be in. Everyone you’re going to encounter is going to be competitive. If I don’t have the drive to go through it and be as competitive, I am not going to make it.

It’s really exciting, but it’s really scary at the same time. My mom and dad are OK with me going away, but they’ve never lived anything like it. They can’t really give me advice on what they experienced.

When my dad would drive my brother and me to school, before he let us out, he would lock the doors and ask the question: ‘What do you go to school for?’ Before we got out, we’d have to answer: ‘To study, work hard and be someone in life.’

Now, my dad is going to school to learn better English. When he leaves the house to go to PCC North Campus, we lock the door and say: ‘What do you go to school for, Dad?’ He says the same thing: ‘To study, work hard, and be someone in life.’”

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