It is worth it!


By Byron Macías, C.M.F.

Like many immigrants, the Ecuadorian Maria Maldonado had to adapt to a new culture, learn English, and get a job. As time passed, she struggled with the question many young people face: Should she seek a higher education or stay where she was.

She chose to fight for her ideals. After working for several years at an immigration law firm in Chicago, Maldonado realized that she wanted to help her people as an attorney. She found her vocation.

Maldonado knocked on many doors; several opened and some did not. She had to think about her finances and beginning a new life in a different city, far from family and friends. After discerning and a series of sacrifices, she enrolled at Thomas Coley School of Law in Lansing, Michigan in 2012. Maldonado chose education and fought for her ideals. It was worth it!

¡OYE! had the opportunity to talk with the young professional.

¡OYE! Why law?

Maria Maldonado: I was working for a law firm and enjoyed listening to people and giving them support and hope. People come with painful stories, looking for hope. One of the attorneys there observed my interaction with people and saw things in me that I didn’t see. One day he asked: “Why don’t you become a lawyer?” I started thinking about possibilities and speaking to God about it.

¡OYE! What challenges have you faced?

MM: Sometimes the biggest challenge is you. Sometimes we doubt our own capabilities, but we must overcome these doubts. I was afraid of leaving my job and financial stability. It was also hard to leave my family. As a Latina, a woman, and the youngest in my family, it was hard to move to a different city and to live by myself. That’s why we must have discipline. I had to learn to be more responsible, to take care of myself in all ways, and to establish and follow a budget. Even $10 make a difference when you don’t work and live on a budget.

¡OYE! What would you advise people who are thinking about their education?

MM: First, and I want to emphasize this, you must have faith in God and allow yourself to be guided by God and the Virgin. They help us when things don’t go well and we get depressed, and we lack the strength to carry on. Visiting the Blessed Sacrament and praying there on my knees brings me peace. Then, you have to believe in yourself and try, at least try! You can’t stay in the dark, but have to take the first step. And step by step you move forward and things will follow.

¡OYE! Some young people give up, because they are undocumented immigrants.

MM: I have met people who, despite being undocumented immigrants, have applied for scholarships. Everything is possible, as long as you have determination. There is always an alternative and everything helps; you can even take a class at a time, at a community college. Strive to get good grades. Time flies by and you can’t waste it. Volunteer, find good influences, get a mentor and be a mentor; but, above all, bring God into everything. God helps and that's a fact!

Your turn

What are the greatest fears you have to face to reach your dreams? What obstacles do you have to overcome?

 

 

Celebrating 10 years of service to Hispanic youth!

 

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