Graduating from college is a great accomplishment, but for some students, the journey to get there is a little more difficult.

University of New Mexico student, Daniela Romero graduated this fall with a double major in psychology and criminology and a minor in evolutionary anthropology. Growing up she fought all the odds even when they were against her.

Romero’s great grandmother raised her and her two older sisters all by herself in a one-parent household in New Mexico. Both of Romero’s parents lived a lifestyle that made them unfit to be suitable parents, she said. They were drug addicted and her father was in and out of jail.

Romero did well in elementary school, until about fifth grade when she began smoking marijuana and drinking. She ended up dropping out of school in the sixth grade and then tried returning without success. She also began working at age 13. Eventually, she went back to high school at Los Puentes Charter School. She said it was the staff there that held her hand and convinced her to go to college.

“The teachers are the ones who told me I really had no choice,” Romero said.

After graduating from high school, Romero attended CNM before transferring to UNM. She said that UNM was a big influence on her and how successful she was.

“It was a big influence because I got experience with people I didn’t know,” Romero said. “I got to network with people beyond what I grew up with.” Romero added that UNM was good for her growth and development as a person.

Post-graduation, Romero is planning to attend graduate school for social work. She wants to put her degree to use by helping at-risk youth.

Romero considers her faith and her great grandmother to be the main things that inspire her the most to succeed.

“I am proud of not giving up and sticking to the goal that I put forth, and following it to the end, she said.”