BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — From harvesting tabletop grapes to graduating top of her university class. Jazmin Barrita Barrita, a senior at Cal State Bakersfield, received the biggest student award the CSU awards in recognition of her effort and hard work.
“Coming from Mexico, people have this idea of the United States being colorful and being rainbows and pretty,” Barrita Barrita said.
Instead, Jazmin arrived from her home state of Oaxaca to toil the grapevines.
She recalls days where it was cold, and farmworkers were still out there. She recalls days where it was piping hot and the farmworkers were again, out there picking the crops.
The days she spent in the fields started early, picking grapes that would later turn into raisins. Nights ended with soiled, damp clothing and aching joints.
“Being in the fields made me see that this isn’t what I want to do my whole life that I do have a choice,” said Barrita Barrita.
One challenge ended and a new one began, Barrita Barrita embarked on a journey thru college as a first-generation and immigrant student.
“Back then I just didn’t feel comfortable speaking English,” Barrita Barrita said. “I would think I wasn’t good enough to even make it.”
The challenges were overcome with hard work and a lot of support from counselors at the on-campus College Assistance Migrant Program.
“I’ve been fortunate to have people that have supported me throughout my journey ever since I got to the U.S,” Barrita Barrita said.
Jazmin is set to cross the stage this Spring with the biggest award the CSU can decorate a student: The Trustee Award. Her brother, an engineering student at Bakersfield College, is set to graduate.
“For whoever gets to see me, I hope they don’t see just a girl whose parents are farmworkers.” Barrita Barrita said. “But as someone who can inspire those students who never believe in themselves and that it is possible. If you can dream it, you can do it.”