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Then and Now
Incoming freshmen and their parents compare life experiences

By Ioana Patringenaru | September 25, 2006

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.

Manjarrez Family
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 pillow.

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.

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Other Welcome Week Stories:
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Triton Power Hour

UnOlympics Picture Gallery

Cohen Family
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 Hills.

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.

 

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