Escrito por: Jenson Castillo
Photo by: Jenson Castillo
Mark Twain famously said, “Actions speak louder than words,” and Alexandra Amaya is saying a lot this year. Her hard work and dedication to her academic goals have propelled her to this year’s graduating class.
This May, she will have earned her bachelor's degree in criminal justice and criminology in three years instead of four, but her journey was not easy and her path was anything but typical.
“The hardest part of my journey was adjusting to college. The pandemic hit my freshman year and I didn’t get my first campus experience until I was a sophomore. Once I got to campus, I was lost.
The onset of COVID-19, one of the deadliest outbreaks of a virus in the last 100 years, made adjusting to college life challenging. The normal campus day-to-day routine was completely turned upside down. The usual struggles that come along with being a freshman in college were amplified.
Initially, Alexandra had a hard time finding community. The new faces, new environment, and COVID-19 made connecting with others nearly impossible.
She also found that there was very little Latina representation in her chosen major. She was often the only Latina in a class, which further increased the feeling of isolation. However, Alexandra was not deterred. She focused on her schoolwork and took summer classes. This extra effort put her ahead.
She eventually joined her sorority, Kappa Lambda Xi, and found a community of students she could relate to. She formed a close bond with her sorority sisters. They encouraged her to step out of her comfort zone and open up.
She started out pretty shy and scared but she pushed through that. She socialized more because of them and has had great experiences. She says this was the best part of her journey.
“I wish I had stepped out of my comfort zone sooner. That is one thing I would recommend to younger students.”
One of the advantages of graduating in three years is that it gives you a head start on your next goal and Alexandra has many to get to. Although she is considering a gap year, she does want to attend law school, pass the bar, and work and live in DC.
iven that her family’s history has close ties to immigration, she wants to become an immigration lawyer and maybe even work with the American Civil Liberties Union. There, she hopes that her experience as a first-generation American along with her legal expertise will help her make an impact in the field.
Alexandra is Puerto Rican, Salvadoran, and Nicaraguan, a wonderful mix of three strong cultures. When asked about her heritage, she smiles and recalls lively family gatherings and great food.
“I have always been proud of my culture. My mother made sure I spoke Spanish and I was always at family events. Every Christmas the whole family would get together...My great-grandmother cooks a lot of food!”
One of her favorite dishes is Gallo Pinto, which is a combination of rice, beans, olive oil, and seasoning.
As Alexandra gets closer to graduation, she acknowledges the invaluable support and guidance that many people gave her. Her friends and sorority sisters have helped her grow as an individual. However, Alexandra credits her mother for getting her to this point and says she could not have done it without her. Thank you Mom! Congratulations Alexandra!
To my baby girl, I’m so proud of your accomplishments. To see you achieve your goals and dreams has been a true blessing and honor. You have prospered through obstacles and hardships to complete this chapter of your life, don’t ever forget your strength and courage. I’m so thankful for the gift of being your mommy. Congratulations on this achievement, baby girl! Luna Bear and I adore and love you so much! We’ll always be here rooting for you!”