Vianey Lemus Martínez

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Vianey Lemus Martinez is a first generation college student and a first year at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC). She came to UNC thinking that her major would be business but discovered that she might change her major to Spanish. Because Martinez is a first year student, she constantly compares and contrasts high school and college academics. She talks a considerable amount about her parents' involvement in her academic career. She feels there is a gap between her parents that they have not yet addressed.



Antonio De Jesús Alanís: This is Antonio De Jesús Alanís, interviewing Vianey Martinez, Lemus Martinez. On April 12 2013. We are in the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the Stone Center Library. So Vianey can you tell me about your family history? About your immigration history possibly?
Vianey Lemus Martinez: So first, my dad he was the first one who emigrated to the US. It was when I was really young. I don’t quite remember how old I was. He would come and stay for about a year and would go back to Mexico. And over there it was just me and my mom and then that happened for maybe like three or four times until eventually my brother was also born and then he sent for us. So we all came and since then we’ve been here. So here’s been here for maybe--without going back to Mexico for like eleven years and me and my brother have been here for almost ten years now.
AA: And now what are you studying here?
VLM: I came here thinking that I wanted to do business but I took some business classes and realized that’s not necessarily what I want to do. So right now I’m considering Spanish and maybe environmental studies. But I’m not completely sure yet. I think Spanish will really work, but environmental studies, I don’t know.
AA: So you’re a first year student, excuse me?
VLM: Yea, neither my mom and my dad went to college, and I think the highest level—my mom probably finished high school, but my dad did not. So I am the first one.
AA: So now, what has been your first year so far because you’re going, you’re going to conclude your first year in May of 2013, so can you tell me how it was from the beginning, in August of 2012? From May 2013?
VLM: It’s been really tough to be honest. I struggled a lot: academically, socially, emotionally. I think I was not prepared especially, academically I was not prepared to come to a school like UNC because the standards are so high and I think that in high school they didn’t really prepare me with enough like background to come to a school where they expect you to know so much. And the students who come from such goods school and I’m just here like: “ Yeah, my school was not the best.” So that was really hard to just like, I don’t know, developing like studying habits that I never really needed before, and now it’s like I depend on those and I’m still trying to figure them out. It’s just been really hard on that, keeping all with classes, so much reading, I don’t know like. And sometimes I didn’t know how to ask for me. Maybe because before I didn’t needed it as much, and I was also so independeble all the time. I felt I could always do everything on my own and now it’s like I can’t and it was really hard for me to know when to go to someone and tell them: “I really need your help.” Like how to ask for it--because I felt like, I guess I felt like I was letting down myself because I was asking for people to help me so I didn’t know how to, or sometimes I really wanted to, wanted people to help me out but, it felt like it was too late, so it’s really been a struggle, and I’m still kind of struggling on that. And also, I guess culturally, getting away from home was also really hard because maybe it’s just Latino culture but I know in my family I never really expected to leave home until maybe I got married or something like that. And having to leave now I was in college it’s just really hard and especially because I live so close to here that I can easily go home every weekend and maybe I shouldn’t but I kind of do a lot. So it’s just been really hard on me and I think especially also my mom to just I guess settled and know that I can’t be, I can’t be at home all the time anymore and I guess also socially at school it’s just been hard to make connections and really make friendships and stuff like that. Like I’ve go to know, maybe because it’s such big school. You get to know a lot of people and never see them again, or it doesn’t go behind a “Hey!” when you see them around. And that has been really tough for me because in high school I felt like I was kind of the big fish, and now I’m like the little one thrown in the sea, so, you know, I don’t know, that really has hit me sometimes not want to be here, because I feel like I don’t any many people to be around, it’s just like, I don’t know: I just want to go home.
AA: So, what kind of, what people have you asked for help in campus?
VLM: I definitely go a lot to tutoring that’s for sure like I stay at the math center all the time. I ask for help in some of my professors, I haven’t asked like all of them. I’ve also gone to like academic couns--, academic advising. I go to my counselor, like I’ve gone a couple of times over there. I’m also at the counseling wellness counselors I’ve also gone there. I think that’s about it.
AA: And, how have you asked your parents for help? Or--
VLM: Well you see. In a way, my mom you know, my parents know that I’m not necessarily the happiest right now. But they don’t really know how to help me because they feel like they can’t really do much to help me. You know I know they support me and I know they want me to be here and they tell me, like they try to motivate me as much as they can, but I feel like they feel like it’s hard for them to help me because they do not know how to help me, or they feel that they cannot help me just because it’s not just like can come here and be with me, or do my work, or what not. So they really do feel like it’s completely separate and we can’t really do anything.
AA: Have you joined any social organizations to make connections, like you maybe?
VLM: I’m in the sustainability learning community, so that one like it helps you know meet with people weekly or whatever. I’ve also done the Carolina First it’s also good. What else? I feel that there’s another one but, can’t really think of it.
AA: OK, so you explained that, going back to your parents, that they support you, how do they support you? When you feel that sometimes that they can’t help you, like you explained?
VLM: Yeah, well I think they’ve always you know like every time when I feel that I can’t make it anymore, or like I just don’t want to be here, they just try to give me motivational words and remind me that there were times in high school when you thought you couldn't do it. And there were, you know, like I guess they always go back to things that I’ve overcome in the past: when I felt like I couldn’t. And they’re like: “if you did it before, you can do it again. You know it’s not going to be easy and they tell me that: “You went through so much to make it here, and you made it so far you can’t just turn and let it all go.” They tell me that they believe in me and what not, so you know, the moment I’m like: “OK, I got this. For you I’m going to make it.” But you know then words fade away and then I’m like: “I don’t want to be here anymore.” They motivate me a lot, and I think they’re my motor to keep going because in a lot of ways I’m here because of them, and I’m here for them. It kind of helps me, push it though.
AA: So now, another question is, how do you involve you parents in your education now? Or did you involve them when you were in high school?
VLM: I think no, when I was in high school it was, like I said, I was real independable and I kind of handled everything on my own, and the fact that they’re non-English speakers it kind of limited them in a lot of ways. They always told me like, she knows what she’s doing and she’s got it under control so we don’t have to get into it, like she got it. So it was always just me on my own in high school. And now, I think now, even though they don’t help me like necessary academically, but like I said emotionally I feel that they are involved a lot. I call me mom almost every day just to talk to her, check up with her. And I don’t now, I think they, they’re a lot more involved in just my daily life because I tell them what I’m doing and I tell them: “I’m struggling with this, or I don’t feel happy with this, or I really enjoy this” and in High School, I guess the fact the fact that I saw them everyday, just made me never really share what was going on, so now was a little more as sharing into that I guess.
AA: And do you ever to them about what you’re doing in class: “Oh mom, this is what I found very interesting?
VLM: I actually do, specially my Spanish class. Like, we read a lot of poetry and I’m not a big fan of poetry but I love my professor and I love how into it he is. So, when we like, I think it was two weekends ago when I went home. I had some poems that were, one it was really graphic but it had a really nice meaning to it, and the other one was just really cute, and actually I made my mom read them, and I know at fist the very graphic one, she was like: “ Ahh, Vianey, you guys read this in class?” And then I explained it to her, why the use of the language, and so she was “Oh, OK, this’ really nice.” So, I really, especially I guess the fact that is a Spanish class and they can fully understand you know what I’m doing, I really enjoy it because I can share everything with them.
AA: Which class was this?
VLM: SPAN 260?
AA: What do you study there?
VLM: It’s just Spanish literature, like we just read. We had like a unit of poetry and we analyzed poetry and we also had a unit of like, I think it was plays, yeah, we had plays. And then, the other one it was just short stories. And we just like analyzed them and talked about them and stuff like that?
AA: So that’s an introduction to Spanish literature? I can imagine.
VLM: I guess, yeah, something like that.
AA: You talked about how you relate your parents to your Spanish class, but do you ever relate your parents to your other classes, maybe finance or math?
VLM: I think that’s a little more difficult just because well, on my side. I assume that they don’t really know. Or that they’re not going to find it of any interest. Because they can’t really relate to it. So I don’t really share with them besides the fact that I struggle with it, but I don’t really share anything that I’ve learned in there. Unless, I take a sociology seminar and that one I kind of share with them, jus because we talk about race, issues with race, and stuff like that, so I do get, I do think I talk more about that my dad, because he’s more like, I don’t know he just talks more about the issues of the world. So we talk a little bit about it sometimes. But, I think Spanish is definitely the one that I talk them the most about.
AA: And which math classes are those, that you’re talking about or?
VLM: I’m only taking this semester a math class, like precalculus, MATH 130. The most I share with my parents is that I say at the math center all the time for that class. But we don’t really, it’s not like I ever sit there and tell them about a specific problem.
AA: So, your contemplating on probably changing your major? From business and finance to a Spanish major and a environmental studies? So, how was that?
VLM: Well, first of all, when I started taking business classes, it’s just not what I imagined. I actually just want to do like accounting. But they don’t really offer an accounting undergrad here so, I was like OK. I’ll just do business. But, when I started taking all those economics classes I was like: “No, this is not what I want.” I don’t know, it was just, I feel that if I rarely want to do something even though I might struggle doing it, I have to like it. And when I was taking those classes, like I hated it. So you know, they just told me like if I’m not good at it, then maybe it’s not for me. And I enjoy taking my environmental science classes but I don’t know, I’m also getting of the point that “Oh, maybe this is not necessarily for me, maybe I’m more into like, I don’t know, it’s just the concepts of it are not really clicking in my head. But Spanish I’m really into the class, I enjoy every time I go in there. I enjoy doing my homework, talking to the professor. I don’t know, that one is really clicking . So, and even though Yes, I’m Latina, and it’s kind of like, you’re taking a Spanish major, I don’t care? Like I enjoy it and I know I can do something with a Spanish major.
AA: SO how was your parent’s response when you told them you were planning to come here and do business and now you’re probably contemplating on doing Spanish?
VLM: To be honest, I feel that the don’t really see a difference Like, I’m still here and you know, that’s what matters to them the most. So, I guess like they don’t mind what I study. Like my mom told me: “What ever you want to do, if you like it and you’re happy, then I’m happy. I just want you to finish school.” So, yeah, I think it doesn’t really matter. Maybe they like the fact that I want to do Spanish maybe because it went back to our roots. But, whatever I choose they don’t care.
AA: So, when you chose to take your first Spanish class, what was your thought process, when you were clicking on the computer?
VLM: This is going to sound kind of bad, but I didn’t really want to take French. And that was another option. So I was like: “Uhm..” I test out of like first levels of Spanish, and I was like. “ Ah, Spanish literature, it can’t be too bad.” I was like “I’m just going to go for it.” So I did. And I’m actually enjoying it. So it was jut because I didn’t want to get with French anymore.
AA: Did you take Spanish because you wanted to, maybe identify with something more personal, as opposed so having something like math?
VLM: I think in a way , it was simple because I wanted to just expand more my Spanish knowledge because, you know, I’m Hispanic and I feel that I should be able to speak it correctly and write it correctly, and read it, you know. And grammatically I’m really bad, so I feel what a better way to get better than reading and I don’t-- like I think that I heard of a grammar Spanish class, but I just want to take it slowly. So, I was like “let me just go for a reading class first, and then from there I’ll see. I think that was one of the main reasons that I chose to take a Spanish classes
AA: And how do you feel now that you have access in Spanish courses, which you didn’t have in high school?
VLM: I actually really enjoy it and I feel that even though I do speak Spanish like there’s so much more for me to learn about it, because people assume: “Oh you speak Spanish, you can’t take a Spanish class,” and I can actually learn from it a lot too. My vocabulary in Spanish I think it like increased a lot, because yes, I know how to speak it, but it’s just like the daily like colloquial words and stuff, so no, I think it’s getting better.
AA: So you explained that your dad is more into the issues of the world? Issues of the world. And your mom is probably more into the literature side of what you’re studying. Do you ever talk to your dad about your literature class?
VLM: Yeah, I think I do. Like I think I talk to both of them about my Spanish class, but I guess my mom. One of the main reasons I show her the poems because she identifies more with the emotional, the, you know what’s behind in the words. And maybe that stereotype of men being less emotional than women. You know? I think that’s another reason that I decided to go to my mom. But.
AA: And how was your dad’s response for you to study Spanish?
VLM: I think just like my mom, he doesn’t really mind. As long as just, you know, I’m in school and doing something that I enjoy and they’re fine with it, but I don’t think there was, like a change. Yeah. I actually don’t really think like I’ve sat with them, OK “I’m going to change my major to this from this” I don’t know.
AA: So, can you tell me about your emotions about how sometimes you can’t really connect with them and explain to them fully what are you going through?
VLM: I think especially in the beginning. I like, during high school, I went to this center called Emily K, to like help me during the process of applying for college, and finding money simply because of course my parents didn’t know, and although I thought I could handle it on my own, it’s such a complicated process, without them I can say I wouldn’t be here. So, I would go there and ask them for help and even now that I’m in school, they still try to support me as well. So, when I started last semester I would go home like every weekend. It was my routine, like I would go home on Saturday, and don’t come back sometimes like Monday morning. They started advising me that I shouldn’t come home so often because you know like during the weekends I could catch up on work, and you know, make more friendships and stuff like that. So it was kind of hard I guess to explain to my parents that “it’s not that I don’t want to come home, It’s just that I have a lot of work and I want to make friends, and you know it’s different during the weekends.” It was just really, that part was really hard because I guess it would have been easier if they had gone to college and understood you know that, how stressful it is. And how much you know have to do. So in a way, I felt that they felt, like: “Oh she doesn’t want to be home anymore just because she would rather be out there with her friends or whatever, and I think it was just especially because of the fact that they haven’t been to school well off to college, it’s just really different, it was just hard to get through that.
AA: So sometimes, you wish that your parents have gone to college, but..”
VLM: Yeah, and I guess also like… you know a lot of things that like I wish they could help me with academically, but maybe I feel like that they don’t really know how to, and I don’t know some things like, if they’ve had gone to college they would have understood a little more, but you know, I totally--it would be different I feel like. And maybe before I got here they would know how to help me a little more, and they would have been more involved in the process. It’s OK.
AA: Now let’s go back to your Spanish class, you mentioned that your vocabulary has increased, so how has your vocabulary increased in terms of like communicating with your family? Like do you find yourself talking in words that are not normal for your school for your house I guess?
VLM: Maybe not necessarily in those terms. I think more like my writing. Like when we have, I don’t know like a quiz or something we read, I sometimes use some words that otherwise maybe I wouldn’t have even know to explain what ever I’m trying to explain. I don’t know. They’re just like better vocabulary words. I think, when I talk to my parents it’s still the same.
AA: So that means, of course, reading it just improves the ways that you communicate, your phrases, your vocabulary, do you ever find yourself that you’re using something that you maybe learned subconsciously now you see yourself reflecting on the—and maybe you catch yourself: “Oh my God I’m using something my parents might not be able to understand?”
VLM: I guess not. I mean I can’t really think of a time when I actually did that. But I do sometimes notice that when I’m taking to them, maybe before I would use like a lot of words like colloquially and now I think of: “ No that’s not correct, don’t say it like that, I do that. My brother, his Spanish is really bad, like sadly so I correct him a lot. So I guess in those sense you could say like I do think about it sometimes Spanish classes like, you’re affecting me outside of the classroom, which is good, yeah.
AA: How does it feel if you were talking to your mom and dad, how does it feel now to use more proper way of talking as opposed to talking a colloquial way?
VLM: At first, it kind of feels awkward just because I don’t know it’s not the same. It’s also good that I’m; “Oh, I know a good word in Spanish like, I know more than what I’ve heard at home.” So, that’s really good.
AA: So how was, can you tell me an example of how your parents responded to your communication being improved?
VLM: Let’s see. I think like one time I say “pa qué?” a lot instead of “para qué?” And I guess, one time I corrected myself out loud, and my mom just looked at me like: “What are you doing?” So I just said “It’s not correct mom, I have to say it right.” And she was just like: “OK, that’s good. You know, it’s just that look like “What for?”
AA: And can you translate what that means please?
VLM: “Pa, qué?” is “for what?” It kind of put both words together.
AA: So one’s more colloquial and one’s more standard?
VLM: Yeah.
AA: So, now, have you ever met other people who have been first generation college students who might be going through these same type of experience that you are going through?
AA: I know a lot from back home that are first-generation and are struggling, my best friend’s she’s first generational and I know she’s struggling as well. But, I guess maybe here, not’s so much. Like I’ve meet a couple of people, one of them, she’s not even here anymore. So yeah, but I guess like I haven’t built a strong relationship with any of them.
AA: And what happened to your friend that he or she’s not here anymore?
VLM: She started here, and then I guess her credits were like, she didn’t do so well, and so she had to pretty much drop out after the first semester. She was planning to still come back, she was just going to drop all the grades pretty much so that that semester would be like, it never happened. But I guess a semester she couldn’t come back. So I don’t know if she’s going to eventually. But that was pretty sad.
AA: But how do you feel about the gap that exists between parents and children, when both can individuals haven’t had the same type of education because as more Latinos are going to school they’re facing these types of problems so how do you feel about that? Can you talk, you talked about your experiences, what do think about others?
VLM: Well, I’m thinking that it definitely sets the students like back because your first supporters and your first helpers are your parents. When you need something a lot of people…the most they turn to, the firs to are you parents but if your parents don’t know how to help you, you feel a little, it’s just hard to know where to go for the help. Because in my case I felt like you know, when I do, don’t something I’ll tell my moms he’ll figure it out for me, or when I needed something I’ll tell my mom and she’ll help me out, but when it got to the point when I couldn’t turn to my mom anymore, who could I trust? Who would be willing take the type of help me? So, I think it just puts a lot more weight into the students, and sometimes it’s just kind of discouraging, and it’s so much and you do not know where to go or where to start, who to ask help. It’s just harder on us. And I think also on the parent sometimes it makes them feel like they’re not doing their roles as a parent you know, because I know a lot of times my parents told me like: “I wish I could help you, but I do not know how to help you.” So, maybe they were feeling like, yeah like they’re not fulfilling the role that they’re supposed to fulfill as a parent, helping their children achieve a better education and get further if they don’t even know how to do it because they didn’t do it themselves.
AA: How has this academic disconnection affected your academic aspirations for the future?
VLM: You mean, like the fact that my parents didn’t achieve as--? I think it pushes me further, like it wants me to go further, simply because I ca--, you know, I want to do better them parents, and I know they want me to better than them. Everything that they’ve done is so that I can get a better education than they. So it does help me further like, help me just keep pushing through, although it’s really hard.
AA: So, can we talk about your high school years, which motivated you, or what motivated to apply to this university?
VLM: Those are my good years, I think I had a lot of people that supported me because I guess I was always a student that was like in the clubs, or you know helping the teachers or starting something. I don’t know, I was really involved socially at the school. So, and that idea that you have of life being so great and you know like, it’s just going to be so much better than high school, they don’t tell you it’s going to be so much harder than high school. And so, I guess especially teachers I guess are adults , and even school they’re always like “You’re going to be someone, you’re going to make you something of your life.” They had such expectations for me, that they made me have high expectations of myself.” Oh my god, everybody wants me to get there, like I have to get there now. I don’t know, instead of being more like, I want to go to college it was more I’m supposed to because of so many people that like know me, and besides my parents that expected a lot of me. I felt like it was besides being an expectations, they just knew that I was going to. So, and I don’t know, I always had the idea that I wanted to go to college because no body in my family had ever. Maybe on my dad’s side yeah, but I’m more closer to my mom’s side of the family. And on her side, none us, well none of them had made it to like past high school. So, you know, my mom always, well my parents always gave me the idea that we want you to go to school and that you have to go better than all of us, and do something with your life. I was just always grown with the idea that I wanted to go to college but I wasn’t quite sure that I was going to go to college here just because of how expensive it is. So, I was considering going back to Mexico and do college over there. Thankfully, that opportunity to go to school here, but yeah it was really hard.
AA: So how was that decision about going back to Mexico and continuing there?
VLM: I didn’t want to honestly because after being here for like almost ten years, like, my life is here. The only thing is that here is my family, it would just be like staring over again, like when I moved from Mexico to here, I had to start over again, and now it would be the same thing all over again, even though yes, I speak Spanish, but academically like I know I’m so, you know behind because they don’t teach us the same things. So, I just knew it was going to be really hard, and l was like “yes, it might be cheaper over there, but I would be the one who would have to leave.” And my dad would probably have to stay here, because if he went back the he couldn’t pay for school over there. And then, I don’t know just like a thousands things like “How am I going to pay for it, I'm not going to get any scholarship, how am I going to start all over again, how am I going to know everything. I just didn’t really want to go. But it seems like that was going to be the only solution if I wanted to keep going to school, and I knew I wanted to keep going. I don’t know. It wouldn’t have been really hard though.
AA: So that means that you had, most of your schooling here is paid for?
VLM: Here? Yes. Well, I got scholarships to, it was full ride. That was amazing.
AA: And did you ever, think about applying to other places, outside of the state or inside the state?
VLM: Yeah, I actually applied to like eight colleges, well universities. It came down to whom was going to financially support me the most, because my family is definitely not a family that can afford to pay the prices. So, and I didn’t want to get loans or anything like that. You know a lot of people also told me, you deserve to go to school and not have to pay for it because you work hard, so and I had people who were helping me too to figure out ways that I could pay for school without having to ask for loans or what not. Yeah, like at the end of my senior year I think I got accepted to eight different schools. And I was getting pretty much getting offered money rom most of them, but Carolina was the one that offer me the full ride, it was also like it’s Carolina, you can turn it now. So.
AA: I’m curious about, what other colleges did you applied to?
VLM: I applied to Highpoint University, Elon University, Campbell University, Meredith College, Appalachian State, Wake Forest and I can’t remember the rest. Oh, there was UNC. Yeah it’s all I can remember.
AA: So you didn’t apply for other schools outside of state?
VLM: Outside of state? No. and I think that was one of the reasons it was my family. I don’t want to go too far. Appalachian State was there hours and it was already pushing it.
AA: So UNC, was wonderful because of the academics and because of the distance?
VLM: Yes, but now I’m starting to see that maybe the distance was a little bit too, close just because it’s so easy to go home but, yeah.
AA: Can we talk about your high school preparation? Did you take AP classes or where you in the IB system?
VLM: I took AP classes, but I’m not going to mention my high school name, but it was not a good high school. I feel that my AP classes were a joke. I only took one AP class that actually gave me a hard time. And that was AP US history and of course the teacher made the difference. I remember like that was the class that I had to study for, and that was the class that I got nervous about when I got the test, so but other classes, like for my psychology AP class, the teacher would just give us the book and pretty much make us rewrite the vocabulary words? What is that going to do for us? And you know, like as a dumb kid, I was “The less work I get it’s better. I’m not doing work, we don’t have a test, OK, that’s fine with me.” But now that I look back, I’m like: “I wish I had teachers that cared me and that like would push me further you know and would be harder on us, because those are the teachers that you really learn form, and those are the teachers and you go back to and you’re like: "Daing, I learn a lot in there. Like I remember from my US history class, I would, I hated going into that class. I hated the teacher, and now when I think of high school, that’s the class that I learned the most in. That’s the class the teacher that I appreciate the most, because she pushed me and she did something for me. I wasn’t just setting there wasting my time. And now that I’m here I’m like: “ I wish I had learned more in high school.”
AA: It’s a commons saying that I’ve heard in UNC as a graduating senior in 2013, I’ve heard it many times. It’s like “I used to be smart in high school.” How does that relate to you?
VLM: I guess in high school it’s so much easier. It’s not that you get less or more smart, but things are easier in high school. I feel that high school is like common sense. Like if you do your work, you’re going go get a good grade, but here you do your work, and it’s still not good enough. I read—like two three days ago, and I was like UNC is the place where your best is still not good enough.” And I was like: “Yes, that is so true.” Because, I feel that no matter how hard I try it’s never, the best. In highs cool you’re so used to, it’s so easy to get an A. Just do your work, and you can look over your notes a little bit and you’re going to pass with an A. and here, I wish. I haven’t seen an A.
AA: So if what you have given hasn’t been enough, what do you think this university ask their students for. What do they demand of you in order for you to get an A.
VLM: I mean they definitely make you push yourself harder and I think in many ways I could be pushing myself harder sometimes I do think, it’s on me. That I could study a lot more and but-- I just feel that this school expects for your life to revolve around academics and yes, it should, you’re in college but I don’t know like. I just feel that they’re some things are ridiculously hard, like aspects that they teach you about that you're never ever going to hear about again, but. They just push you like dig so much deeper into everything. And it’s sometimes really hard especially because it’s not just one class, every class is just like that. I feel that there’s no easy class, they’re just really hard and just hard. And that’s it.
AA: So, do you think that your transition, because obviously you’re going through a transition between high school and your college years. Do you think it’s going to get better and you’re going to be stronger that what you are right now, and everything’s going to eventually fall into place?
VLM: I want to convince myself of that, because you know, if not, that’s definitely going to be an issue, but I think my issue is just that I just have to keep trying to make connections and build relationships because the fact that I feel I don’t have to many people to go here, it just makes it so much miserable to be here. But maybe in a way like, since I didn’t, I feel that my school isn't too big, so it was just hard, it was just easy to get to know people. In my small classes, when I have small setting, like I do pretty well, I feel confortable in the class, I enjoy it, but when it’s a big class, it does have a great effect on me, and it makes me not want to be there, it just makes me feel like a number. It just makes it a lot harder for me to pay attention and want to do the work and find somebody to study with and what not. And I’m like I’m kind of really shy, and I do not know how ask people like, I feel that some people just have the personality of like instantly make a friend. And I’m not like that, so, I don’t know it’s just so well hard because for students that are like me, with the personality I have it’s so much harder to make those connections and to you know, make those relationships that are the ones. I feel like, it’s the connections and the relationships that you have, that make you make it through, because I wouldn’t like my high school as much it wasn’t because of the people that I met. So, you know, it’s the same logic that's is going to apply here but it’s so much harder. Then again, it’s my first year, like you said, I really hope that things are going to get better. People say that they’re going to. So I’m just like: “Keep pushing through, like I made it though one year, just three more to go.”
AA: Do you have plans for the future to travel abroad, continue on to graduate school? Or how do you see yourself three years, or four years?
VLM: I would love to travel abroad, that would be awesome. What did you say about like a job? Sorry?
AA: No not the job, where do you see, well of course if you’re thinking about a job, but where do you see yourself in four years?
VLM: In four years, well yeah. I would love to have a job and just I guess like these four years right now, it’s just like a lot of time I’ve stuck in a classroom. And once I’m out I don’t want to do that anymore, I want to do something more interactive with people, and I would like to work with like a nonprofit, I don’t really. The ones that I’ve worked before are really support. Their goals and what not. I don’t know, I just want to find something that I find something that I feel passionate about and something that I enjoy doing and that it doesn’t feel like a drag to do every day. Because right now that’s kind of what it feels like. So, I don’t want to feel that I have to something because I have to do it, and because it’s an obligation but more because I enjoy it. So hopefully in these three years that I have let, I’ll figure out what that is going to be. Because at this point I don’t quite know what is.
AA: So have you registered for next year’s classes?
VLM: No, I actually have not. Like I, I don’t know I totally forgot about it, or I don’t know what went through my mind. I am looking into the classes that I should take next semester. Hopefully I can get the ones that I need, but no I have not registered for them. I’m going to like see my advisor, because I do not know either. I was looking at, I guess the requirements and stuff and I’m just like: “I don’t understand this.” So, I think I need to ask for some help so she can guide me what should be good stuff like that?
AA: Are you planning to take more classes that you enjoy, like Spanish?
VLM: Yeah, definitely, I want to find what I like and take those because I feel that those are really help you—make you get out of bed and get to the class. It’s good, yeah, I guess just take classes that I like and also the ones that need to take, but hopefully I find the right balance, you know.
AA: And also before the interview, you mentioned that you’re probably thinking about going to a local college and getting classes out of the way? Which classes would those be?
VLM: I’m thinking especially like, science and math, just because I think they’re ridiculously hard in UNC. Yeah, hopefully this summer I can take like two classes and maybe next summer do the same. What I plan to do this summer is to just take two classes, but I also got a job with Duke Gardens to work as an assistant for a kid’s camp, like summer camp. So, I’ll be doing that and hopefully I can put the classes in there so that next semester if they’re ever need to, I need to drop a class or what not, I can do that. So
AA: And about exploring more classes. Have you thought about doing something like studying some other class that you’ve haven’t thought about before? Like art don’t know?
VLM: I have thought about it, just because like I said I really enjoy Spanish, it wasn’t that I thought of before, I’m Hispanic, what do I look like taking a Spanish major, and now that definitely changed my mind just taking the class. Environmental studies, although I like issues related to environmental studies and environmental justice and what not, I realized that my the environmental studies major is not necessarily what I like. So I was thinking something more into the humanities aspects of it. More to like help people out. I don’t know, just more activism I guess. I think that’s not necessarily the environmental science major. I think I’m going to try to explore more into that side of it and see what I find there.
AA: So, do you want to share something else with us, your last thought?
VLM: I don’t know, I don’t really I think. I’m good for now. Well thank you.
AA: this is Antonio De Jesús Alanís, in the Stone Center Library, and it is April the 12 2013.