My mother, sister, and I left Peru and moved to the United States when I was 11. We left everything behind, including my father for a short while, and had to start over again with nothing. I watched my stay-home mom pick up multiple jobs to put food on the table for our family. Life completely changed for me. My parents told me and my sister that they were bringing us to the US for a better life and more opportunities, but I very quickly realized while living in a one-room efficiency and eating hot dogs almost every day (and sometimes starving) that “opportunity” does not mean “hand-out.” Starting a new life, making new friends and going to a new school was not easy; there were countless times when I wanted to give up but I kept in mind my parents’ hard work and sacrifice.
I have always been the type of person to look for opportunities and to step outside my comfort zone. Within my first year in middle school, I tested out of the ESOL program because I noticed it was holding me back from learning English instead of helping. In high school, I joined honors classes, Air Force JROTC, and the Institute of Business and Entrepreneurship program. I managed to stay on top of my studies and graduate from middle and high school with highest honors.
Unfortunately, I was not able to go to college right after high school, but I never gave up on my dream to continue my education. I started working in various administrative positions to help support my family while saving money towards my future. By the age of 24, I had become the acting director of a preschool with 100 children and a staff of 20.
Seven years after graduating from High School, I seized the opportunity to attended Broward College. Very soon, I had joined the International Honor Society of Phi Theta Kappa and held positions as Treasure, Vice-President, and President. I created projects for a nearby homeless shelter and for a campus recycling campaign. Upon receiving my Associates degree, I transferred to Florida Atlantic University to finish my Bachelors in Marketing and Management. I first focused on making sure my academic studies were stabilized before joining the International Business Fraternity of Delta Sigma Pi and holding several chair positions as well as Senior Vice-President and President.
Each of us has opportunities to take or leave, some lead us to realize our dreams and some to discover new potential we did not even know we had. I don’t believe you need a piece of paper to define who you are or to provide every opportunity in life, but I do believe if you have the opportunity to further your education, don’t just get a degree; make the most of it. Whether you are a mom or dad, a student or teacher, an employee or employer, learn from other peoples’ struggles, passions, successes, and mistakes; get involved in your community; inspire those who are where you have been; and make your success story.
I am who I am today because when one door closed on me I did not let it stop me; I persisted in looking for the door that was right for me and here I am today. I am grateful for the knowledge I have acquired, the people I have met, the inspiration I find everywhere, and am eagerly seeking the opportunities yet to come.Jacky Davey was born in Callao, Peru. She has been living in the United States for over 17 years. She attended Broward College where she obtained her Associates Degree in Business Administration. She also attended Florida Atlantic University where she received a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing and Management and graduated Summa Cum Laude. She is happily married and recently celebrated 5 years together with her husband who she met in salsa class.