Humble. Friendly. Outgoing. These are some of the words that describe Carlos Vargas, a 19-year-old who was brought to the United States from Mexico.
His parents brought him to the U.S. to have a better future. Vargas’s dream has always been to receive an Associates in Pre-Engineering, and he is now attending Salt Lake Community College to make it happen. His dream, however, has not always been so attainable.
Vargas is originally from Hidalgo, Mexico, but remembers being in Veracruz, Mexico for most of his childhood with his mother and grandparents. When he arrived in the United States, he was about five years old.
He has never been back to Mexico since.
“[I do] not remember so much about Mexico,” says Vargas. “[I do remember] the place being very green, with tall green trees everywhere I looked.”
Vargas completed all of his schooling in the United States. He graduated from West High School in Salt Lake City, Utah and is now attending SLCC’s South City Campus.
“[I’m] loving this school, for the fact that it is small and doesn’t require much walking to get from one class to the other,” says Vargas. “SLCC [is] a cheap school, which benefits [me] as a low-income student, as well as other students who attend SLCC and are in need of financial help.”
At the time Vargas graduated from high school, he was not eligible for federal aid; he had to save money before continuing his education.
It took him a year after high school to have enough money saved up for him to start attending college. During that year, he was working, saving money, and trying to help his girlfriend pay tuition.
“Even though it was complicated to earn and save money, because [I] still had a lot of things to pay, it was worth it,” says Vargas.
Vargas is now currently working on his general requirements and hoping to get good grades so he can receive a scholarship.
By the time he is done with SLCC and transfers, he won’t have to worry about tuition to attend the school of his dreams, the University of Utah.
Vargas is thankful for schools like SLCC, because if it hadn’t been for SLCC and their cheap courses he wouldn’t have ever attended college.
“Students should always have options for attending schools,” says Vargas. “So before looking to attend expensive schools, they should look at SLCC’s background and give it a try.”
While immigrant students like Carlos face many challenges, perseverance pays off. Even though it is hard, opportunities can be found at SLCC that allow everyone and anyone a chance to reach for their dream.