Meet Jose.

“I applied to UF because there was a specific incident my junior year–in one of my A.P. classes, where I was the only Hispanic student, and everyone was talking about where they were applying, and I said I was going to apply to UCF and some other state schools, but UF wasn’t on the list, because I didn’t know anything about UF, and one of my peers told me, “Oh, you wouldn’t get in anyway.” And I was so confused, because we were in the same class, we had great GPAs, so that really made me apply my senior year. I still didn’t know anything about the university, didn’t realize how great it was, didn’t know anything about it at all. Then, springtime came and when the decision came out on a Friday, I didn’t even look. I came back from my musical rehearsal and didn’t even want to think about this. The next day, I was all alone in my house and I just checked and I logged out of the website like 5 times because I didn’t think it was true, I didn’t think I was accepted, especially for the fall semester, because the other two universities I applied to deferred me to┬ásummer and that really brought down my confidence–I didn’t think I was made for college. But UF gave me that boost, that confidence again, and one of my English teachers who I looked up to and was a mentor, she told me that if I didn’t go to UF, I was dumb. So I knew I had to. A couple weeks later after acceptances, I get an email telling me to check my financial aid status, and I thought I lost all the money I had gotten, all the scholarships. But I checked, and it told me everything was paid for. I couldn’t believe it. I sat back down in my A.P. Literature class and was quiet, which surprised my teacher. And he asked me what was wrong, so I said “Umm, college has just been paid for.” And he didn’t know what to say, he had never heard of such a thing, especially for UF. Throughout the whole year, I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into, and my grandma and I kept hearing about these financial aid workshops and that we should visit the Office of Admissions. So we visited the different universities, we went to these different conference things and everyone kept saying that you shouldn’t pay for college. So we applied for everything–little $500 scholarships or $1000 ones, anything. I got a couple, but I think in the bigger scheme of things I was supposed to get MFOS. My first semester at UF was really rough. I considered transferring. It was too far away, it was too big of a school–I’m from a small high school where I knew everyone and everyone knew me and we were one big group. 400 of us graduated and I can say that I knew every person, and then to come here and know only 5 people was really intimidating. But luckily enough, it was because of my First Year Florida class and how small it was that I felt connected somehow. Then I applied to be a peer leader and I was accepted and that made me really excited to keep going, then I applied to be an RA and applying here and there. I don’t know what it was about freshman year me–I was shy and timid, but they liked it. Then Campus Diplomats and my mentor showed me opportunities and it made me want to stay. When I taught my First Year Florida class, that was when I knew what I was meant to do at UF, which is work first-year and first-generation students.”

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