⇚ Back : Meet Erika, 23

“My mother, and all her family, none of them went to school. My mom actually received the highest education, which was eighth grade. So I was definitely preached from day one, ‘Go to school.’ It was just unfortunate that, because they had never gone to school, I didn’t really know what to expect, or how to go about it.”

 

“My name is Erika Rodriguez, I’m 21 years old and I’m currently attending Northwest Vista. In the Hispanic families, you always get the really young pregnancies, the unexpected things, and all I know is, growing up, looking at that, I did not want that for my future. I realized, I want to go to school and I want to make something of myself.”

 

“After high school, the path I took was, I attended a university. I really wanted to go to school; I wanted to be the first one, and so I applied to UTSA. I got in. I was there for about a year and a half, but it was a complete struggle, ‘cause you constantly hear, ‘Hey, there’s money being thrown at you for being Hispanic. There’s money being thrown at you for being a female. There’s all kinds of things.’ But the truth is, you don’t realize all that goes into it. I didn’t realize I was going to need so much information from my parents. In a Hispanic household, it’s kind of hard to say, ‘Hey, Dad, hey Mom. How much do you guys make?’ Like…it was just…I don’t know, it’s, I guess, a culture shock?”

 

“At one point I realized, like, I’m just going to end up getting in pretty deep with debt. I joined the National Guard, and that’s been helping me out. I recently came back from training, so I’m pretty much just looking forward to using up my benefits, doing what I can and finishing school. So I definitely heard a lot of, ‘I hope you go back.’ And luckily I just stuck with what I wanted.”

 

“This past year, my little brother, who’s eighteen, moved in with me. Being young, and trying to get into school, I definitely put myself in a couple of holes financially. Now that I’m kind of fixing everything up for myself, I wanted my brother to live with me, so that that way, I could just kind of pass that on to him. It was – it was difficult at first. He was definitely used to being at home, and just kind of hanging out with friends, doing what he wanted. All of a sudden he’s working full-time, and he’s realizing, ‘Man, I don’t want to do this forever.’ And I’m glad, ‘cause I feel like, he’s finally understanding like, ‘Hey, I want to get back into school, and I want to do that.’ That’s what I like to hear from him.”

 

“In our family, now I’ll be the first one to graduate from a university, so that’ll be different. It’s a cycle, though, and now I’m kind of changing things up.”

 

“I think it’s good that Generation Texas is kind of like a family – like, outside your family, if my generation pretty much doesn’t deliver, then it messes up our future. It messes up the future of the people behind us, the generations after us. That’s good motivation. That’s good drive for somebody.”

 

“My name is Erika Rodriguez, and I am Generation Texas. It’s one of those things that I would like to tell a younger cousin or something about – it’s like, ‘Hey, you should check out Generation Texas.’ ‘Cause it may motivate them. It might be that push thingy, to go on and say, ‘Hey, I’m going to do this, too.’”