‘I Knew the Repercussions of Leaving': A Student Gave Up One Life to Pursue Another
The decision cost her her community, and strained her relationship with her family. But she began figuring out how to live on her own. She enrolled in courses at Northern Virginia Community College, and soon her life was “work and attend class and do homework.” Yet, in spite of the pain she felt over leaving her past behind, it was an exciting time, she says, because “I knew that every class that I took, every exam that I took, was all going to help me build a better future.”
This short film spotlights Jimenez’s story to reflect the kinds of barriers many students must overcome to pursue a college degree: lack of family support, clashing community values, and financial challenges.
Jimenez has earned two associate degrees from NOVA and is currently studying molecular, cellular, and developmental biology at Yale University, where she is part of the Eli Whitney Students Program for nontraditional-age students. Although it took time, Jimenez has repaired her relationship with her parents. She wanted them to be involved, she says, “so that they could see the things I was doing, and so that they could be proud of me.”