Becoming a Dental Hygienist was a dream of Graduate Senior Sandy Tran-Garcia. After not being accepted into a dental hygienist program, she gave up on that dream and came close to quitting school.
The thought of quitting faded when she realized she wanted to be someone to the two people who inspire her most, her children.
“I know my kids would want a mom who was great, educated, and never gave up,” Garcia said. “What kind of example would I set if I just quit? and How would I ever encourage my kids to always try their best if I didn’t?”
Garcia still had no direction on what she wanted to be but being stuck in traffic changed her life and helped her realize her path.
“I was stuck in traffic on I-35, and I looked to my right and noticed this big red billboard with bold white letters that said, “Make a difference Teach.”
Teaching her children was a part of her daily routine, and she realized that was something she loved to do.
“I love teaching my own children, and I think I would be a pretty good teacher,” Garcia said. Deciding on a University was an easy task because of a friend who recommended Texas Wesleyan University because of smaller classes and understanding professors.
“I chose Texas Wesleyan because of the Smaller. Smarter. motto,” Garcia said. “I was able to connect with my professors, and I loved that.”
Garcia’s journey at Texas Wesleyan University started in August of 2019 as a first-generation, non-traditional college student. Also, the first in her family to earn a diploma.
“I did everything backward, instead of going to college, getting married, then having kids, ” Garcia said. “I had kids, went to college, got married, so I did things out of order, but it was worth it.”
Taking care of children and going to school is no easy task, but the support of her husband and family helped Garcia juggle both.
“My grandmother helps me when I’m at school by watching my children,” Garcia said. “Also, the support of my Husband who steps in when I need to study or take my tests.”
Despite her many adversities, Garcia was determined to make a difference and majored in Early Education-6th with ESL.
After becoming a student-teacher before graduation, Garcia thought back on her childhood as a Vietnamese American student whose parents were immigrants and how her teachers were not like her.
“I didn’t have any teachers that looked like me or any teachers who represented what I represented,” Garcia said. “So, I would become a role model for students who are different.”