College Aspirations

by | Chapter 2

In 2008, I wanted to attend college and improve my English skills. It was going to be impossible for me, or I thought, to go to campus in person. How am I supposed to get there and pay school fees and materials, like books and notebooks? Was unthinkable. I made a comment to a friend, and I was told something really cool! This friend advised me that I could take classes online and for free, and this was such good and exciting news.  I asked my (CNA) nurse assistant where I should start and which school. He was very nice and helpful, and sit down with me to look at the Santa Rosa Junior College website. We found the contact information for some lady there, a clerk, and gave it a call. We thought the person answering the phone call might give us some information and point us in the right direction. We were in luck; someone did answer and told us where to go. I contacted Nancy Chinn, the person from the disabilities resources department. She told me she would like to come to my place and talk, in person, about the matter. So fortunate, I felt! She came with her colleague, Tara Johnson. I don’t remember the exact date, but to be honest, it was sometime in the summer of 2009. We talked about the options, and they thought my English was not bad, by the way. I could only take free and online classes. I explained to them, okay, no problem, they said. I was able to take English classes online, I was happy, but not satisfied, I wanted to take real courses, more complex ones. Well, at least I had something to keep my mind busy. 

By the end of the year, an American couple, the son, and daughter-in-law of my roommate, I loved that roommate, an elderly man, like my own flesh; they gave me the biggest gift EVER! They sponsored me. I was in a wheelchair. Otherwise, I would’ve fallen backward. I used to watch that sort of thing happen in soap operas when I was a little kid, and I thought “oh man” I wish that could happen to me, OMG! Over 25 years later, it did happen. I didn’t have any MULA to pay for school fees before, but suddenly, I had money to take any class I wanted. Since then, I could even go to campus and see the instructor face to face, all thanks to God, who has been looking out for me; such amazing people, like this American couple, helped me succeed in my life. 

I could go and take swimming classes, which for a person in such condition, were classes for wetting your “butt” or half of the body, I really like them, anyway. These classes were meant for people who had some disabilities and limited mobility issues, so they were able to get some PT. I needed to have somebody with me to help me get into the pool and do therapy. Otherwise, I couldn’t take it. I had a caretaker with me, but I needed another person, so one could hold on from my right arm, and one from the left one, and kept me floating in the water, it was FUN! Unfortunately, these classes didn’t last long, I was able to take two semesters, maybe, I’m not certain, but I didn’t qualify anymore. Perhaps, I wasn’t making any progress, yeah, that could be the reason.

I was interested in getting my GED certificate, so I started working in the computer lab at the DRD, a couple of days a week, it was “hard”! I didn’t have many studies in my hometown, 6th grade only, Elementary school in Mexico. My family was impoverished, and couldn’t afford to maintain my studies going forward, thus everything was new to me with respect to the GED. I was doing well with the simulation testing and studies; I thought the real exam should not be too bad. 

When I felt like I had studied enough, I scheduled my appointment for the actual exam. The GED was composed of several lectures: Math, Written, Reading, Science, etc. I took math first, and I failed 😝. Yeah, I did bad, bad, bad! I did the same with written and all the other subjects, 5 in total. Luckily, I am a stubborn person, and I didn’t stop until I passed them all and got my piece of paper! 


  1. Clarissa Kripke

    This is a wonderful story, Pancho, and well written, funny, and shows your grit and determination to succeed. You deserve all the support in the world as you have so much to offer.

    • Pancho Ramirez

      Thank you very much! I appreciate the feedback


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.

Stay in the know

I will be adding new content regularly, don't miss out, sign-up to receive notifications whenever new content is available. 

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This