Humans of the U: Diana Martinez

“When I was first applying to college, my family experienced financial difficulties that resulted in us having to share a trailer home with two other families.

Since the trailer was so small, I slept on the couch in the living room. I was fearful of going home, and slept with constant wariness because one of the people in the home was selling drugs. To preserve my family’s existence, I’ve balanced working daily at my mother’s restaurant while still striving for academic success, competing in cross country and engaging in community service.

I wanted to quit many times along the way, especially last year after my older sister unexpectedly passed away. I held fast, though, to my belief that my hard work and a college education would allow me to break free of poverty.

I have received help as a business scholar, First Ascent Scholar and as a recipient of the Utah Opportunity Scholarship. If it weren’t for the U’s support—financially and, from staff, emotionally, I would have dropped out and given up. Instead, I kept going and they were always checking to make sure I was OK.

I was born into constantly enduring financial hardships and uncertainty. I’ve learned that while we sometimes don’t have control of what occurs, we do have the ability to change our circumstances.”

Diana Martinez, sophomore, accounting major, Honors College; the Utah Opportunity and First Ascent scholarships recognizes service and leadership in first-generation students from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds.