Julissa Arce: From Undocumented to Self-Made, Part One

The odds were always stacked against Julissa Arce in America. She didn’t speak English. She was apart from her family for most of her life. She couldn’t apply for financial aid as a senior in high school ready for college. She was alone in the world with a giant secret—the unfortunate fact that she was undocumented. Yet despite every obstacle, Julissa managed to land herself a job and climb the ranks as a Goldman-Sachs analyst. She prayed that her colleagues would never find out about her immigration status, and entertained a new lifestyle of wealth and success.

But the façade came crashing down when her father passed away and she was not able to travel to Mexico, which became a clear signal to Julissa that it was time to break free from the lies. She left her job, started a fund for immigrants like herself, and ultimately decided to write a book about what she refers to as her “underground American dream.”

4 Lessons to Take from Julissa Right Now

Make Friends with Math

As a little girl living in the United States, Julissa spoke no English–but she quickly realized that math is a universal language that would allow her to excel.

Know that Power is Taken, Not Given

The moment a law passed in Texas to allow undocumented students apply for financial aid, Julissa took the bull by the horns, picked up the phone and called the Texas senator’s office and boldly made a plea for her case.

Act As If

When she first started working at Goldman Sachs, Julissa could not keep up with her colleagues’ lavish lifestyle. Nevertheless, she found a way to “act as if” until she finally made it herself.

Think Like an Immigrant

Since she was a little girl, Julissa watched her parents hustle. By the time she was in college, she was an expert at selling funnel cakes on her own with a work ethic that ultimately landed her a position as an analyst at Goldman Sachs.

To learn even more about Julissa’s work, visit: http://julissaarce.com/