Picture of Gerardo (father), Rosalia, and Cecilia (UC Davis student)
Gerardo (father), Rosalia, and Cecilia (UC Davis student)

Student Parent Profile: Cecilia

Major: Communication
Expected graduation Summer 2024

Family members: Gerardo (fiance and father of our child); special thank you to Maria (Cecilia's mother), Elizabeth and Jesus (Rosalia's grandparents), and Lupe (Cecilia's uncle and brother of Cecilia's late father) for all of their support toward Cecilia and Rosalia!

About the kids: When Rosalia was a newborn, I would play a specific song in Spanish called "Caballito blanco" (White Horse) all the time: to calm her big feelings, during her bedtime routine and whenever we would play. Seeing her get excited every time no matter how overplayed the song is at this point, made me realize how much she loves horses. She has a build-a-bear unicorn (that she is adamant is a horse) that she loves and carries with her wherever she goes! She also loves to bake and will repeat "Mi! Mi!" as her way of trying to say "mix". Rosalia also loves to dance, as she grew up also listening to her grandfather play Spanish music, particularly loving "banda" these days. Most importantly, she absolutely loves bananas. I sometimes question whether I'm raising a human or a monkey.

Favorite course: PSC 001 - General Psychology

Most rewarding aspect of being a student parent: Knowing that my daughter, 3 years old by the time I graduate UC Davis, will be there cheering me on as I walk the stage and receive my bachelor's degree.

Reflections on the experience: I lost my father in December of 2017 as a junior in high school. Though I unfortunately did not have my father at the time I needed him most, preparing to take various exams and apply to universities, there was one thing I knew for sure: I was going to work as hard as I could to attend UC Davis. My father was a patient at UC Davis for Cystic Fibrosis and he would always tell his doctors that his daughter was going to get accepted into UC Davis. It was the most bittersweet moment when I opened my letter of acceptance in 2019. I texted his old phone number to share the news and since then, I have never looked back. My dad was my biggest supporter, and I know that there's no better seat for him to look down on me from than in heaven.

Impact of family on education: My daughter has opened the door for a multitude of personal, professional and academic growth that I otherwise would have never learned had she not come into my life at the most unexpected time. I knew the moment I found out at 18 that I was having a baby, through all the grief from losing my dad and chaos that is my life, everything I would do from that point on, would be for her.

Advice for other student parents: Don't parent your children for the sake of pleasing societal norms or the fear of not doing what is best for your child. Your child's safe space lies within you, not others. May we raise strong, independent and kind children to build leaders for our future.  Becoming a parent means constantly asking yourself and others if you are a good parent. Someone once told me "the fact that you even worry about whether you're a good parent tells me you are one", and that changed my entire perspective.

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