Asking for Help Along the Way
University Honors student Ana Fuentes Romero takes us through her transition into collegeMay 8, 2023
My name is Ana Fuentes Romero and I was born and raised here in Denver, Colorado. I am a first-generation college student in my junior year majoring in Economics.
As the oldest child in an immigrant family, the pressure to succeed has always been high. My parents sacrificed everything to put me and my brother ahead and pushed us to try our hardest in school, believing education to be the key to a good life. In high school, I tried my hardest to succeed and managed to graduate with a 4.0 and my associate degree along with my high school diploma. High school was all well and good, but getting to the point where it was time to go to college was a big step.I had no idea how college worked. Coming from a high school that had a graduating class of 74 students, suddenly transitioning to a campus of 40,000 students was intimidating. It wasn’t like high school, where you managed to make friends with people simply because you went to the same building with them for 4 years. I was scared, and it wasn’t like I could talk to my parents about it when they were so happy that I finally made it. Admitting that I was scared would be like admitting defeat, and I couldn’t do that to them.
What really helped me was making it into my honors program. A year ago, I was invited to apply for CU Denver’s University Honors and Leadership program, a small cohort-based program that promoted small classes and rigorous academics. As someone who pushed myself to be the best academically, the challenge that the program presented was appealing to me, and the small class sizes only made it better. Thankfully, I was accepted, and that gave me a community of people who had the same mindset and pushed me to be better. Having a place where everyone knows each other by name and supports each other really made the transition to college easier. I met my best friends through this program. I’m really grateful to be here.
As a first-gen high school graduate and now college student, I always hated asking for help. It made me feel embarrassed and it felt like giving up. But being here at CU Denver has taught me that it’s okay to ask for help and that I don’t need to do everything myself. If you’re struggling, the university has tons of resources and there will always be someone that knows the answer, whether you need mental health counseling, math tutoring, or even career advice. Having a support system from my friends and knowing that resources are there if you need them really helped me flourish. Now that I’m finishing up my first year of college, I look back on the person I used to be and am shocked that I was so scared. I love being here, and every day I’m grateful that I made it. Sí se puede!