I was born in Havana, Cuba, and moved to the USA in 1999, at the age of seven. My family had no choice but to leave as My parents wanted a better life for me, and they could not foresee that in Cuba. Luckily, we were sponsored by my uncle who had been living in Trenton, NJ since the 80s. Living in Trenton, NJ was a culture shock that was an emotional roller coaster. I must admit that initially, I was very angry with my family for taking me away from my cousins and friends. I was sad and confused as to why I could not return to my home country for a long time. As I began to learn more about Cuba, and what my family had experienced, I recognized the necessity to leave and thanked my parents for their decision.
By the time I moved to Miami, I had a couple of years of college under my belt, but did not know if I wanted to finish school. Initially, I started working and put school on the back burner. As time passed, I heard multiple radio advertisements about Florida National University (FNU), and each time it intrigued me. Finally, one good day, I decided to take the number down and give FNU a call. This was the beginning of an amazing journey, I will never forget.
I enrolled in the psychology program as that was where my interest directed me. Shortly after becoming a student at FNU, I received an email about a federal work-study opportunity. I applied for the position and thankfully got the part-time job as an assistant to the President’s executive assistants. There, I met Naomi who has become one of my best friends, along with my mentor and inspiration, the President of FNU, Dr. Maria Cristina Regueiro.
Later, I accepted an opportunity for a full-time role, for which I was so grateful. I learned so much during my time as an executive administrative assistant to Dr. Regueiro, Mr. Frank Andreu and Mr. Omar Sanchez. I now have the confidence to jump into any challenge, and know that I will be successful because of the experience gained from my time as both a student and employee at FNU.
I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology in spring of 2021. Now, back in Trenton, NJ, I am honored to always represent FNU and tell everyone how I graduated from a school that is not only the first college in Hialeah but also Latina owned and led. FNU showcases Hispanic culture at the highest level and promotes higher education for our community. It is peculiar to think that all of the challenges I faced coming to this country led me to FNU, a school that mirrors my very life experience as an immigrant, and a member of the Latino/Hispanic community. Representations matters, and it means the world having FNU represent me and those in my community. I am proud to be a part of this incredible school that welcomes all cultures and look forward to my future.
Jessica Hourruitiner – Excerpt for the Hispanic Heritage Month