Bertha Barraza’s new guide The Sense of Belonging, as its cowl declares, is “An Ethnographic Autobiography of Marginalization.” In different phrases, it is her life story about being an immigrant from Mexico to the USA. She got here to this nation as an adolescent together with her household. She knew little on the time apart from that she needed to work onerous to make a dwelling, and work onerous she did, at a number of minimal wage jobs till at some point she had an awakening. She had not completed highschool and nobody was going to advertise her with out a highschool diploma.
Bertha now knew what she needed to do, however a highschool diploma wasn’t what she needed. She determined to give up her job and go to East Los Angeles School and fill out an utility. She had no thought of what actually lay forward for her. She solely knew that getting a university schooling was step one to bettering her life.
I will not go into all the main points of Bertha’s journey as a result of she describes all of them within the guide. What’s necessary, nonetheless, is that this guide isn’t just her biography. It is a have a look at the processes Bertha underwent to earn an schooling and it serves as a information to college students right this moment who wish to do the identical. Bertha particulars every thing a pupil would want to know to get by way of faculty, particularly Latino college students like herself. She discusses every thing from utilizing a day planner to the way to apply for grants and scholarships.
Bertha additionally is aware of that it’s subsequent to unattainable to succeed by yourself. She is aware of how troublesome her journey was, which is why she’s written this book-to encourage future generations who could also be in the identical place as herself to have a greater life. She additionally encourages college students to hunt out position fashions and mentors who may also help them. She has a chapter on the facility of networking. She additionally has a chapter on the Puente program that she joined-an group for Latino students-which allowed her to satisfy and excel with fellow college students like herself. This program’s curriculum additionally led her to discovering Chicano literature, by which she discovered tales of individuals she may relate to that inspired her to succeed and to make the world a greater place for herself and different struggling college students.
A Sense of Belonging is appropriately titled as a result of it additionally explores how we are able to discover our place on this world. It teaches us to pursue our destinies and never quit till we’ve achieved our goals. Throughout the course of her journey, Bertha went from working in a fast-food restaurant with out even a highschool diploma and barely talking English to graduating from faculty, getting a job working at a neighborhood faculty, and even incomes a PhD. At the moment, Bertha is the embodiment of the American Dream, and dwelling proof that anybody can succeed in the event that they put their thoughts to it and work onerous.
Past all of this guide’s fantastic recommendation about what expertise you’ll need in faculty, the way to handle your time, the way to reap the benefits of numerous sources that universities provide, and an general information to a school schooling, at its core is a deep sense that internal energy will pull you thru. Bertha is the epitome of getting braveness within the face of adversity. And regardless of all her onerous work, she stays humble and grateful for the success she has achieved as a result of she is aware of none of it could have been doable if others had not given her a serving to hand.
That gratitude is displayed right this moment in her position as a professor and counselor to college students at a California neighborhood faculty the place she helps them navigate the work/college/life stability to allow them to additionally succeed. Past that, Bertha additionally likes to journey and expertise new cultures. And journey she has-everywhere from Moscow to Barcelona to Dubai to Zimbabwe. Her journeys have taught her that on the most simple ranges, we’re all people and all need the identical issues. She embraces deep and wealthy cultural experiences and brings them again to share together with her college students so that they can also turn into world residents. She additionally reaches out a serving to hand to these in want across the globe. In Zimbabwe, she traveled with a missionary group that adopted a college. In Nigeria, she attended a college’s grand opening and donated books to the scholars.
Bertha Barraza is one in every of our unsung heroes. It would not be going too far to name her the Latina Oprah Winfrey for the great she has executed and for the message of hope and success she has unfold to numerous college students. The Sense of Belonging is the proper guide to present any pupil who is perhaps struggling by way of highschool or faculty or who merely wants a lift in shallowness. I might particularly encourage giving it as a highschool commencement present.