Sweaty palms, confusing maps, large buildings and parking so far from your classes you know you’re going to lose weight. All things we might experience as we step on a college campus for our first day of class.

After 10 years of serving as a band director in a large urban district, I am walking into a new chapter. Although I have taken four classes in my doctoral program, DMA in Music Education, this fall will be my first year as a full-time graduate student. This is a bittersweet moment for me and my family because I know this is necessary in order to finish my terminal degree in a timely manner. Although I am excited, I would be remiss to not mention how much I miss serving my students.

As my wife and I were scrolling through social media, she showed me an image that had a profound impact on me. I looked over to my wife and said, “babe, that’s you!”. To my surprise it was not a random meme, but an intentional statement by a business that promotes celebrating the identity of being a daughter of an immigrant. Website

This image drove me to reflect on the journey I was about to embark. I changed a few words and made the post applicable to me, family members, former students and other marginalized populations. When music education as a whole does not reflect the demographical profile of our country, I know what my presence represents. I want it to be known to ALL students- YOU BELONG. You belong in the school of music, ensemble, band, orchestra, choir, or music class.

As a #FirstGenDoc entering a new academic year, I want thank and honor all that have allowed me to reach this point in my educational career. Gracias to my wife Xochitl, my son AJ, Ama, Apa, family, teachers, mentors and network. As a proud son of immigrants, this degree will represent the hard work, resilience and sacrifices my parents and all those before me have made for me to have this opportunity. I do it for my family.

  • Eric Jimenez

One thought on “You Belong!

  1. Felicidades I am proud of who you are and what you stand for….it takes a lot of soul to be willing to venture further and deeper than what others say it’s required. ENJOY THE JOURNEY THAT IS THE REAL PRIZE…


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