The first university I visited during my middle school years was Portland State. I vaguely remember seeing the Smith cafeteria and the Broadway computer lab. At the time, I was curious about attending college, but by my freshman year in high school, I knew I was going to college. I had no school in mind, but I was determined to enroll with or without financial aid.
During my senior year in high school, I made a trip to Phoenix, Arizona. All of my mother’s side of the family moved there a decade ago. A cousin of mine was attending Arizona State, and she suggested that I should enroll there. I visited the enormous campus and was excited at the idea of leaving Oregon for something different. Ultimately, I chose to stay and enroll into Portland State for financial and family reasons.
I had come to the conclusion that I simply could not afford to attend Arizona State. My lack of knowledge about financial aid blurred an opportunity for me to go out of state. I had worked hard in my rigorous classes in high school and had harvested pears and cherries during the same time. However, many low-income people of color do not have access to a solid education let alone higher education.
I have been fortunate and privileged to have both. Portland State and all the institutions of higher learning are more than just a mascot, brand or colors. They are the places where we should gain knowledge, develop our skills, and empower ourselves. It has been a journey for me to mold a better life and to give back to my family and community.
3 thoughts on “Portland State is More Than a School.”
Mario, I am personally glad you chose Portland State to attend and to further your education. You are one who is rich in family heritage and one I believe really is looking at this school and this community for all the right reasons. I applaud your choice and wish you all the good things that life has in store for you.
Thank you fro reading my blog and commenting! I am happy that I enrolled at PSU, I can’t imagine being so far from home and the people that I care about. It is always nice and reflective to remember where one came from and to embrace it as one’s identity.
Mario, there is a saying I am fond of, “You cannot know where you are going if you do not remember where you came from”.
Safe journey Mario.