From Durango to Stanford University: Young immigrant applies to 45 universities and 41 accept her in the United States


DALLAS, Texas.- Janet Rivas Reza is 19 years old, she arrived in North Texas from Durango, Mexico, in October 2019, and today 41 universities accepted her applications for admission, including the prestigious Stanford University.

At only 15 years old, she crossed the border as an “unaccompanied minor,” and with more fear than desire she arrived in the city of Dallas to look for a job.

The United States received bitter news: eight weeks before that day, a 21-year-old young man entered a store a few miles away, in the city of El Paso, and with an automatic weapon sought to “annihilate Hispanics,” but This did not discourage her.

Since then, many things have happened in Janet’s life, and if the end of the story were today, she would be happy, since she has a ticket to California, after winning a full scholarship to study Computer Science at one of the most prestigious universities, Leland Stanford Junior University, better known as Stanford University.

“I miss the air, how it feels, how it smells, I miss walking through the streets and seeing how people walk with their families, I miss that smell of the gorditas that are cooking,” Janet begins an interview with Univision 23, talking about, in her words, “her beautiful Mexico.”

“I came here with the intention of working, making a little money and then returning to Mexico, studying was never in my plans, but here I am and I’m going to university,” adds the young woman with a proud smile.

The song “Con Calma” by Daddy Yankee was a hit on the radio, Bad Bunny was making his way and no one knew who Peso Pluma was, when Janet learned what it was like to work hard in the United States, and understood what the “ American dream”.

She highlights that “knowledge” is the key, “you can work 60 hours a week, but you can go further,” which is why her advice for people looking for a better future “is to have an open mind.”

“Keep an open mind”: Janet Rivas’s advice for immigrants arriving in the United States

“It’s not about doing what your family did, or what you already know how to do,” Janet highlights, adding that we must seek to learn something more, “we cannot live in a bubble, where things do not enter or leave.”

The student from North Dallas High School, part of Dallas ISD, confesses that at first she didn’t trust anyone, but she found a support network in her teachers that pushed her to go further.

“My math teacher came and told me -Janet, do you want to stay for the tutorials? Because you’re doing poorly, I can teach you-. In my mind I said – I don’t trust her, maybe she’s doing something to me, what does she want? -. Then I said to myself, -you know what? Let me help you a little-“. Comments the Duranguense.

The year 2022 was ending, and her classmates began to send their applications to seek admission or a scholarship at a university in the country.

“I don’t deserve to be in a university, I can’t be in a university, or anything. I will have a more decent job,” Janet responded about the idea of applying herself in search of a professional career.

“I’m not enough to go to university”: The young Mexican woman thought about sending an application

“I’m not enough to go to university, really, who is going to love me?” were the words that were spinning in her head. At that time, Janet lived with some classmates from Dallas ISD, who insisted that she apply for college.

“You don’t know if they are going to accept you at those universities, I looked at the requirements and said – I don’t have any of this, I’m barely here or what do I know. Then I told myself -apply to as many as you can and let’s see which ones accept you, one has to accept you.” Janet comments.

“I started applying to universities on New Year’s Day. Oh my God, it’s a very crazy story,” she says as she laughs.

She adds that “many of the universities had their dates for sending applications on January 1, or a few days later. -I have one day to apply to the universities I want, I have to work on it-“.

With the help of her teachers she wrote dozens of essays and completed countless applications, with her heart on her sleeve and a lot of uncertainty, she submitted each one. She applied to 45 colleges from coast to coast, what did she have to lose?

Janet Rivas applied to seek admission at 45 universities in the United States

One of the first answers she received was “no.” This discouraged her, however, everything was going to change, and very soon. Janet Rivas, a young woman from central Mexico, received three more negative responses.

But after that, 41 more letters, emails or notifications arrived, and only one word changed, “no” became “yes.” Which is to say, 41 universities in the United States accepted Janet’s application.

She included one of the 10 best universities in the world, according to several studies, Stanford, with a full scholarship, and which only accepts one in 10 international students.

Janet is going to study at one of the best universities in the world: Stanford in California

The young woman is going to study in the same rooms where the founders of Google, Hewlett-Packard (HP), LinkedIn and Yahoo spent time. About 20 Nobel Prize winners graduated at the same place, which is a record for an educational institution.

Janet saw that she had a notification from the Stanford portal, “I didn’t want to open it, I made a mess, I went to classes, to a softball game. It was already 8 at night and I looked and looked at the notification,” she confesses.

She went to a cafeteria very close to her school, and a few minutes later she shouted with joy: “Congratulations, you have entered Stanford University,” she read with emotion.

Now she begins a new journey, more miles to her life log. From Durango to Texas. From Texas to California. From California to Africa?

Janet wants to be a teacher and go to Ghana after graduating, and work there helping and inspiring low-income people, and she will surely achieve it.

Source: Univision