The Constant Struggle in College

By: Dayana C. Banchs Rodríguez and Mirna Y. Jiménez Lucena

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Ana Figueroa, 22, with her son Franc, 8 months, in Ana’s bedroom. A year ago, while she was pregnant, she had complications and almost lost her son. “Many times I thought the best decision was leave the university or moving to another university.”

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Aixette Horta, 23, with her daughter Naixette Casilla, 2 years, at Naixette’s birthday. Three years ago Aixette began studying at UPRM, had her husband who supported her in everything, but since Naixette born Aixette became a single mother. “Educate my daughter alone and study at the UPRM is a challenge that requires much time, but I know I can do it.”

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Jennifer Cabrera, 25, and her son Yeudiel Irizarry, 4, at Walgreens doing Christmas shopping. When Jennifer became a UPRM student, her child was only 1 year old. “It was very difficult to detach from my son to go every morning from Lajas to Mayagüez after a year to spend every day with him.”

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Ana’s parents Ana Rosa, 63, and Francisco Figueroa, 60, with Franc. Eight months ago when Franc born, they proposed to Ana care of Franc so she could study in Mayagüez. “Ana is doing a big sacrifice to finish college; we can’t believe she has the to be away from Franc.”

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Franc waiting the Ana’s visit. Since August 2014 Ana has to leave her son with her mother in Arroyo, Puerto Rico and rent a apartment to stay in Mayagüez to finish college. “I spent every week sad because I only see my son on weekends.”

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Naixette ready to go to the day care. Since Naixette was 1 year, Aixette started to pay a day care to her daughter. “Some mornings I bring my daughter with me to college because the day care open at 8 a.m. and I can’t miss class.”

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Christopher Irizarry, 25, and her son Yeudiel, pretending that they are running motorcycle. Christopher cared her son for two years while Jennifer was in college. “I don’t know how Jennifer has the energy to spend a entired day with Yeudiel playing and taking care of him; is hard to keep up.”

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Yeudiel is excited because it’s his last day at head start. Since Yeudiel turned 4, his mother takes him to the head start, but Yeudiel spent all semester wishing to spend a day with his mom. “I wish my mother have time to play with me.”

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Ana taking class at 7 a.m. Every day she had to get up early to go to college. “It’s hard getting up early to go to college, but it’s a worthwhile sacrifice.”

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Here is Franc standing in his playard. Two months ago Franc stood alone for the first time and her mother wasn’t there to enjoy the moment. “When my mother called to tell me the news, I cried a lot because it hurts not be present in the life of my son.”

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Naixette at the day care playing horse riding. In the past, Naixette didn’t like to stay all day in the day care, but she has already adapted. “My biggest problem is when Naixette is sick and I can’t leave her in the day care; so I have to miss college even if some professors don’t care or don’t cooperate with me.”

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Jennifer is cooking at her home . One of the chores that Jennifer done since she married Christopher is cooking no matter if she arrive to home tired. “When I have to do group work I have problems because many students stay in Mayagüez and they meet after 3 p.m. but I can’t because I have things to do in my house like cooking.”

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After all semester Ana and Franc can share a whole month together. Franc wept to much when his mom let him every Sunday at Arroyo with his grandparents. “I can’t believe that after five months I can start to enjoy my son.”

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Aixette and Naixette finally can have a full day together after she finished her final exams. Throughout the semester Aixette came home to see her daughter at bedtime. “I’m very happy to spend a whole day with my daughter, but I feel much prouder to study at the best university of Puerto Rico and have the ability to be a good mother and an excellent student.

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Jennifer and Yeudiel at Mayagüez Mall. Jennifer did not hang out with her son without haste since August. “This was my last semester in “El Colegio” because I did, I finished my bachelor’s degree from the best university in Puerto Rico and I’m really going to miss college, but it’s time to enjoy me my son.”

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