By Marissa Martinez.
Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi.
Business Management.
May 2018

Attending college and obtaining a degree has been a goal in my life for as long as I can remember. As I got older, I always strived to make the best grades and do well in everything I did in hopes that it would lead me towards succeeding in college as well. My parents always shared the importance of going to college, so when the time came, I applied as early as possible and ensured I would be attending right out of high school. Out of all the schools I applied to, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi (TAMUCC) offered me multiple merit-based scholarships that would allow me to attend college at no cost. Although I originally applied to this college as a back-up plan in case I needed to stay close to home, it quickly became my first choice and I knew that I could not say no to “free” tuition. Knowing that I could attend college without the weight of debt on my shoulders was a relief for my parents and me.

TAMUCC is only 45 miles or less away from my hometown, but in order to have a shorter commute I decided to move to Corpus Christi with my grandparents. Both of my grandparents are immigrants from Mexico, and have always worked hard to ensure that their children and grandchildren would live a better life. Their life has paved the way for us to achieve our dreams, and no one (besides my parents) are more excited to see me graduate this coming May. Living with them has allowed me to learn more about my culture, and even start to understand and speak Spanish. I am thankful for all my family has done to support me in achieving my degree.

Marissa with grandparents Miguel Sanchez, Carmen Sanchez and brother Isaiah Martinez.

Marissa receives the Ambitious Award from TAMUCC on December, 2015.

In my first year of college, I decided to become an Island Ambassador at my university and share my experience with other prospective students. Many of these students are Hispanic like myself, and grew up with families who did not have much or any experience with attending college. Being able to help them with their college application or financial aid questions has been rewarding. One of my favorite experiences was speaking with students about scholarships and financial aid, and seeing their faces when they realized that attending college was an actual possibility for them.

As graduation approaches, I am working towards what my future will be after I obtain my degree. Along with my classes, I am currently interning in the development department at the Texas State Aquarium, as well as working in their guest services department. Prior to my internship, I worked with guest services for nearly a year, which sparked an interest in the non-profit world.

Though it has only been a few weeks since I started my internship, I have learned so much and look forward to putting it to practice in my career. I also look forward to what the future has in store for me and share my accomplishments with my supportive and loving family.

Marissa with Ashleigh Miller and Nicolas Rodriguez working at their first Dollar Day at the Texas State Aquarium. October, 2017.

Marissa with her parents Adolfo Martinez and Rosie Martinez at the Performing Arts Center in Corpus Christi, TX. April 1, 2017.

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