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Student Spotlight: Mireya Del Abra

Texas Southern University

Mireya’s College Forward journey began at Stony Point High School in Round Rock, Texas. In 2017 she moved to Houston, Texas to study and play soccer at Texas Southern University. In this interview, we explored Mireya’s experiences and challenges as a student-athlete, and first-generation college student

What inspired you to choose your major?

It was in elementary school where I fell in love with science! It’s such an interesting subject for me. I always found science to be so fascinating because it allows us to further look into the details of what we and the world around us are made of, how things work, and how we can play with it whether to make an air-conditioner system, a motorbike, or sending people to space.

What was your proudest accomplishment this year? 

This might sound kinda lame or cheesy, but my proudest accomplishment from 2019 would be passing Organic Chemistry I with a B+. It is one of the toughest classes you will take as a biology major. I struggled a lot during the fall semester with understanding it. My professor Dr. Wei said on the first day of school that “Organic chemistry will be easier to comprehend compared to general chemistry because it is all carbon base.” 

Well, let me just tell you it’s not because I thought only focusing on carbon things would be much simpler. Organic Chem is a different type of chemistry. Seeing my final grade on blackboard once he posted was such a relief for me. I was constantly in tutoring, staying up late to study, and trying to get the highest grades as possible on my online Pearson home assignments just to get extra credit. Obviously, all that hard work that I put in paid off because I got a grade I feel like I earned. 

How did College Forward impact your college experience? 

College Forward cares about its students. The coaches understand everything we’re thinking or feeling because they were once in our shoes. They know all the pressure and just the idea of applying to college is difficult. Making it simpler and preparing students with the transition from high school to college. College forward is committed to creating the best opportunities and best learning environment. This program helped me in high school and continues to help me now that I am in college. Helping me with any questions or concerns I have at the touch of a text or call.  

What do you wish you knew before entering college? 

I wish I knew how much sleep deprived I was going to be. I think it’s even worse for me because I’m a student athlete. A dual sport athlete so I have a higher demand athletically, but wish I could sleep more. So I try to do as much as possible during the week so when the weekend hits all I need to do is sleep!!!  

What were some unexpected challenges you faced in college? 

For me personally I would have to say being a student athlete, but a dual sport athlete. I play soccer and run track at Texas Southern University and the most unexpected challenges I have faced is keeping a balance between my studies and my sports.  Time management is something I have definitely had to perfect even more.

In high school I was on many sport teams and participated in many club organizations as well so I thought I was quite good, but coming into college it was different. Especially being at a division 1 university professors and coaches don’t mess around so I had to really utilize my time efficiently and wisely. 

What post grad advice do you have for the next generation of college forward students? 

My advice for the next generation of College Forward students is to apply to as many scholarships as you can. There is no limit on how many you should apply to or can. Doesn’t matter how much or how little the scholarship is. Every ounce of money you could receive from a scholarship will make that much more of a difference when paying school tuition or even books. Everyone loves free money so APPLY PLEASE! Even if the odds are slim because there’s literally nothing you can lose from applying.

Also pay attention when your College Forward coaches are teaching you about FAFSA. The FAFSA application itself is complicated and a very tedious. It’s very important in college and makes all the difference.  Finally, stay on top of your school work and ask for help when needed. Strive the best that you can be. Enjoy the journey. The road is not easy, it is well worth it in the end. There’s great things coming your way!

What is the best advice you ever received? 

The value of education is something that I have understood since a very young age. Neither of my parents had an opportunity to attend college and due to this, they faced many struggles in their personal and professional lives. From the time I could walk and talk, my parents have encouraged me to accomplish the one thing that can excel me through life and gain through hard work is knowledge. They constantly reminded me that my only inheritance will be my college education; that my degree would be my “machete” allowing me to one day I would use my degree to provide for my family and be someone in the world. 

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