Tania Paola Caballero is one of educate.‘s university scholarship recipients, currently in her first year of studying industrial engineering. In this post, she shares some stories from her childhood and some of her experiences from living and studying in San Pedro Sula, Honduras.
My name is Tania Paola Caballero Fernández and I am eighteen years old. I was born in San Pedro Sula to my mother, Dilcia Yolany Fernández Gutierrez, and my father, Oscar Oswaldo Caballero Baide. My sister, Elsy Carolina Caballero Fernández, was born a year after me.
I remember starting Kindergarten in San Pedro Sula. But then when I was 4, my parents split up and so my mother, sister and I moved to Trinidad, Santa Bárbara to be with my grandparents, and I continued my education there. My childhood was wonderful, I loved it. I went to primary school at the Escuela Guadalupe Ulloa, and I achieved academic excellence every year. One of my favourite memories was getting to participate in the school beauty pageant! After primary school, I continued studying at the Juan Lindo Institute, the public high school in Trinidad. Again, I achieved academic excellence every year. I’ll never forget the time I spent there. It was a time when I had to leave behind some things from primary school and start to mature, and it was really the best time for me. Some of my friends from high school are like siblings to me! During my time at high school I also participated in the Queen of Trinidad competition, and in Expo America, where I represented Argentina and I had to do a lot of research. I actually won both first and second prize, but they couldn’t give me both so I just got the first place one.
One of my favourite memories from high school was standing on stage in front of the whole school when they awarded me my high school diploma. But I knew that this title wouldn’t be enough for me and I wanted to keep studying. It took a lot of effort and dedication, but that’s why I decided to apply to university to study industrial engineering. It has been a complete change, different in all aspects, but day by day I am adapting and I know that I can achieve it.
My first semester at university is almost over – we finish in the first week of May. At the moment, I am taking 4 classes: English, Spanish, History of Honduras and Sociology. I’m in my first year, so we have to do some general classes before we specify in our subject. It’s only 4 classes but it’s a lot of pressure. Sometimes I barely sleep because I have to study constantly and do all my readings, homework and assignments. A lot of the assignments are really long, and often for very few points each. Recently, I wrote a 24-page paper for my sociology class! But I know that all of the effort I am putting in will be worth it.
It’s a very different environment to high school. For example, we don’t wear uniform, I have different people in all my classes, and you have more choice with your timetable. It’s nice because you have everything you need inside the university, but it’s also quite dangerous in this part of the city sometimes because there’s a lot of violence and crime. Last week there were shots fired outside the university, leaving one student badly wounded. I didn’t see it happen, but people were talking about it the next day.
The transition from living in the small town of Trinidad to living in the city of San Pedro Sula has been a big change. In Trinidad, I lived such a tranquil life, I could walk around freely and enjoy all the nature. In the city, I have to be much more careful, I can’t go out much, but also there is so much more here! But it’s so hot here, and there are no trees, just big buildings, so it makes the heat even worse. It’s just completely different. I also don’t get to see my family very much, because they are in Trinidad. In San Pedro, I live in a room in an apartment with a few other girls from university.
When I have holidays, I love playing football, exercising, studying, and listening to music. My goals are to become an industrial engineer, and also to learn English. I want to help my family, and other people who don’t have the opportunities I now have, and eventually have my own family and a house. And one day I’d love to travel to other countries!
I think studying makes you a different person. You are taken into consideration by society and you develop as a person in the best way. If you study you can also help your family and you have so many more opportunities. By becoming an industrial engineer, I can go on to run a business, supervise people, or so many things! It’s such an opportunity.
My first 18 years have been amazing, and I know there are so many more things left to experience.