In many ways, Sabrina Romero represents the struggle of every rural student at a large university.
However, it is the way she overcame these challenges that makes her impact significant and her experiences unique.
Romero grew up in Clovis, New Mexico, where she developed a close relationship with her mother and her little brother. After graduating from Clovis High School, Romero was eager seek the city lifestyle and broaden her experiences by attending UNM to pursue a degree in business administration.
However, moving to Albuquerque meant leaving behind close family attachments and adjusting to a new and unfamiliar environment.
“Being homesick was very hard for me,” Romero said. “I loved my mother and my little brother, and it was tough to be away from them. I never had a car for my first year, so I couldn’t go home by myself. I would only see my family if they happened to be in town, and that wasn’t very often.”
Despite the loneliness, Romero remained resilient and decided manage her fears constructively, finding a job for ENLACE New Mexico. The program connects colleges students with highschool students in New Mexico to provide them mentorship opportunities and transition them into college.
Through this initiative, Romero was able to help resolve problems facing high school students that she faced on a daily basis.
“One of the most important lessons that I learned through ENLACE was that age didn’t matter,” Romero said. “I helped many people who are my own age. A lot of people have someone to support someone. However, not everyone can help solve the problems your dealing with. Our primary purpose was to help the students in any way we could and be the best friends we could be.”
Among the many challenges she faced, Romero also dealt with financial struggles, as many college students experience. She become a resident advisor for Casas Del Rio to financially support herself.
“I had a goal that summer, and my goal was to buy myself a vehicle,” Romero said. “By the time school came around for my sophomore year, I had made enough money to put a down payment on my first vehicle.”
Romero was able to push past her hardships and continue in her pursuit to finish her degree. During her senior year, Romero was given to opportunity to intern for Pioneer Natural Resources where she provided the opportunity to engage with real world applications.
After completing the internship, Romero finished her last semester and will be receiving her degree this fall.
“Everyone likes to sugarcoat the college life, but the truth is, you end up stressed, broke, tired and hungry most of the time,” she said. “However, nothing should stop you from achieving your dreams.”
Like all UNM students, Romero was eager to explore what a large campus lifestyle had to offer. More importantly, though, Romero recognized that broadening horizons can create challenges, but that dealing with these challenges is one of the most important lessons one can learn from a university.
Shubham Chadha is a news reporter for the Daily Lobo. He can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @DailyLobo.