By Rommy Torrico
After several months in the making, the DREAMers Manual: Surviving the Swamp is finally done! We had a fantastic team helping in the process and great support from sponsoring organizations. We hope that this manual, written by undocumented students for undocumented students, will serve as a foundation for other undocumented students at the University of Florida and around the state to build upon. There is so much more ground to be covered, this is just the beginning!
From the Authors
In 2007, when Raul and I were seniors in high school and had just been accepted into the University of Florida, being “undocumented” was almost unheard of. The term “illegal” took precedent and the lack of understanding and resources for students in our situation meant that we had fewer opportunities and bleak outlooks for the future. We were scared, worried, and faced an arduous journey into college without direction. We didn’t know if our immigration status would hinder our success or what obstacles we would face once we got here. We felt alone and powerless.
The world has changed since then. We helped change it and in turn, time has changed us. We have learned so much in the past six years and we stand here now, proudly knowing that nothing measures how well you succeed except your personal strengths, drive and determination. At the end of the day, your status is nothing but a label. You will always have the power to define yourself and no one can take that away.
As undergrads, we knew that our present and our future were full of circumstances out of our control, but if we could just equip ourselves with the knowledge and resources to make it through college, we knew we would be ready to take on the world. All of what we learned through our experiences is what we are offering in this guide. During times when we were desperately seeking answers and control of our lives, it would have been nice to have a friend to orient us. It is our hope that what students get from this will help them overcome those obstacles and help them make the best of their time at the University of Florida. From dealing with financial aid frustrations and learning about DACA benefits, to learning how to simply survive in Gainesville as a young college student, this guide’s sole purpose is to make life easier. Share, copy or forward this guide to the masses because there are thousands of us out there.
The days of being undocumented and hiding in the shadows are numbered. It’s time to acknowledge our amazing potential and have the confidence to do great things. We’ve been putting in the work, sweat, effort, and tears for years and now the world knows that we are definitely a force to be reckoned with.
You can also go to the UF Multicultural Affairs Website here for more information