In order to show that effort pays off, a student had her graduation photos taken in the field in which her parents are working. Photos from Jennifer Rocha’s graduation serve as a heartfelt ode to her parents.
In a piece of writing shared on UC San Diego’s Facebook page, Rochea claimed that her parents, who are from Michoacan, Mexico, “were not lucky enough to accomplish their ambitions of pursuing further education and getting the ideal occupations they wished.”
Her parents advised her to work as a migrant field worker while she was a high school student in order to gain the knowledge necessary to appreciate the value of pursuing higher education.
When Rocha was a senior in high school, she started helping her parents in the fields.
“To go work in the fields overnight,” her father would pick her up.
We would plant strawberries, leave between two and three in the morning, and get ready at five in the morning to avoid missing the city bus.
Rosa was impressed by the workers’ dedication to their task despite their backaches and the flies, mosquitoes, and other bugs that flew around them and got into their eyes.
She wrote, “No one thinks or observes what goes on behind the scenes of a grocery store vegetable.” But behind it is someone who breaks their backs every day in the fields.
Rocha worked in the field even after she left for college on weekends or during breaks.
Since her parents couldn’t afford for her to have a room at school, she “had to commute from distant places like Oceanside and Lakeside.”
The challenge of working two jobs, commuting, and going to school at the same time was overwhelming. My parents’ words of encouragement and love kept me going several times when I wanted to give up.
Working two jobs, commuting, and attending school all at once was an enormous burden. I wanted to give up countless times, but my parents’ love and words of support helped me push through.
Rocha was encouraged to “work hard” growing up in a family of farm workers because her parents went my sister and me into the fields to demonstrate how difficult labor might be.