“As I awaited my decision from UCI’s admissions office in 2018, I received my second DUI and was jailed multiple times for fighting, public intoxication, and disturbing the peace. As a result, I began part of my first quarter at UCI on house arrest and spent some nights in jail. This made me feel as though I did not belong on campus. Fortunately, I met Hector from the Underground Scholars Initiative (USI) in the first weeks of the 2018 fall quarter before I began my house arrest, and he made me understand that the struggles that I had overcome up to that point made me deserving of the opportunity to study at UCI, for I had prevailed over barriers that other students would have faltered over.

His sentiments struck me, and I gained comfort in knowing that there were people with a similar background on campus—I was not alone. More importantly, after completing my house arrest, I began to attend USI meetings regularly, and it has changed my trajectory in a positive manner. Prior to making contact with the student-led organization, I did not ponder about graduate school, but now I plan to apply to graduate programs and continue my pursuit of knowledge. USI has facilitated my growth at UCI and motivated me to fulfill my true potential. In the summer of 2018, I was scared of the prospect of failing at UCI and succumbing to the negative perceptions that others had of my being; contrastingly, I am now going into the summer of 2020, and I am excited about the prospect of attending graduate school and confirming the perception of myself that the USI members have instilled in me—one of perseverance, success, strength, and triumph.”

Jesus Adan, UCI Student