By CAROLINA VALDIVIA
Alejandra was born in Guanajuato, Mexico. She was 4 years when she arrived to the U.S. in 1989. In 2007, Alejandra received a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. In 2013, she completed her Master’s in Education with an emphasis in Counseling. Her career goals include becoming a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist.
Why did you decide to go to graduate school? I wasn’t sure what I could do with my BA in terms of mental health, there were many options. I researched and found how my graduate program would be a stepping stone for any future plans I had. The program focused on multicultural aspects of counseling, I knew then that’s what I wanted.
Why did you choose to study Education with an emphasis in Counseling? I want to work in the mental health field because our communities are suffering. We live in a society that creates fear and shame the norm. Unfortunately, this creates an environment where depression, PTSD, among others breed and thrive. There are not enough counselors that know how to work with immigrant populations. I don’t believe that we all share the same experience, because we each have a unique experience, however, not all counselors understand this. I can’t fix or undo what people have gone through but I can help them process what they feel.
What is one piece of advice you would like to give other undocumented students considering/applying to graduate school? Have a support system, whether it’s parents, friends, counselors, or whoever, surround yourself with people who support you. This is advice for any student really. The more people you have that love and support you the better, because there will be days that you want to give up or you are exhausted. Sometimes those people can bring you back to the reasons why you are doing this. Graduate school is a huge commitment, adding immigration status to the equation can be overwhelming. Also, don’t let your immigration status stop you from pursuing your dreams. Lastly, please visit a counselor (there are low cost counselors available). Work with a counselor to explore whatever it maybe that you are struggling with, even grad school.