How different are this year’s incoming
freshmen from their parents? How different is
the world they live in? This Week@UCSD
decided to find out. So we caught up with a few
freshmen who came to UCSD with their parents in
the last few weeks and asked them to talk about
their experiences. Based on this unscientific
and admittedly small sample, a few decades can
make a big difference – both for individuals
and for the world at large.
|Student Denise Manjarrez (center, left) poses with her aunt, her mother and her sister.
At age 17, Maria Manjarrez already was a mother,
raising her son in a small town in the Mexican
state of Sinaloa. This month, her daughter, Denise,
moved from Compton to UCSD’s campus. Her
mother, her younger sister and her aunt all came
along Sunday to help the 17-year-old freshman
settle in her new digs. They carried many bags
and parcels, including a big cloth suitcase with
a red and white Hawaiian motif and a fluffy white
Denise said she chose UCSD because of its strong academic reputation and because some of her relatives live nearby. She translated for her mother, who doesn’t speak English. Manjarrez said she was happy her daughter would get a chance to continue her studies beyond high school. Denise’s oldest brother was the first in the family to go to college. Manjarrez also said she hopes everything goes well for her daughter this year. Denise said she is passionate about immigration and immigrant rights. She wants to study communications because she believes it will help her get through to people. “I just want to help out,” she said.
When he was a freshman, John Cohen had left his
native Iran to attend Pepperdine University in
Malibu. His wife, Fariba, lived at home. On Sept.
17, the couple were saying goodbye to their daughter
Ashley, a UCSD freshman who said she plans to
become a premed student. “It’s exciting,”
Cohen said. “I want to go instead of her.”
But Cohen, who is Jewish, also said he was sad
because Ashley would be away from home for Rosh
Hashanah and Yom Kippur for the first time this
year. The family lives in Calabasas, near Woodland
|Student Ashley Cohen (center) with her father, mother and two younger sisters.
Cohen said Iran was a very different place when he was a freshman. It was a peaceful country, still ruled by the Shah. In fact, some of the monarch’s relatives attended Pepperdine when Cohen was there. “When you said you were Iranian, people treated you respectfully,” he said. Of course, Ashley, who was born in the United States, will have a different experience, he added. The 18-year-old said she doesn’t really follow today’s issues. But she plans to be involved with Hillel, a Jewish student organization.