Navigating new worlds: How a golf scholarship took me beyond the El Paso bubble


Ranger College golfer, Alicia Barron, finishes her swing at the NJCAA Championship Tournament in 2022.

Since I was a child I dreamed of leaving El Paso. Little did I realize it would be nothing like I expected when I finally got my way out with a scholarship from Ranger College to play collegiate golf.

The college is in Ranger, Texas, a little town two hours west of Dallas. The main street that crosses the whole town has only one yellow flashing traffic light. Getting across town takes about 10 minutes.

My parents supported my dreams and helped me make the move to Ranger. The day I got dropped off was bittersweet. I felt like a kid being dropped off in Kinder who thinks their parents would never come back. But I also felt free for the first time with no rules and no boundaries. It was all up to me. The world was all mine. I had to learn to meet new people and get outside my comfort zone.

I learned very quickly that I was living inside a bubble in El Paso. I had always been surrounded by people that looked like me and had the same culture. El Paso, where 83 percent of the population is Hispanic, is not a very diverse community when it comes to countries of origin.

As I entered my new dorm, I met my roommate who was from Spain. I had never met someone who was from Europe or lived with anyone that was not in my family. This was the first challenge in my journey. Living with a stranger is not easy especially if they are from a different country, because even though we spoke the same language, we had our differences.

I later got to know my teammates who came from all over the world – Thailand, South Africa, England and South Korea. One of the best parts about being on the team was hearing all the different accents and trying to understand each other during practice. This was also the first time I was “the Mexican” on the team.

Opportunities to travel to other new places increased since tournaments were always played outside of town. I was able to go to Florida twice to play in tournaments and traveled all over Texas.

Ranger College Women's Golf team participates in 2022 NJCAA Championship in Sanford, Florida.

Ranger College Women’s Golf team participates in 2022 NJCAA Championship in Sanford, Florida.

I did not realize that my Mexican culture would be something I missed. I was raised to always to prioritize family which is what made living on my own very complicated. I made sure to call my mom everyday and give her an update on everything that was going on. My parents also visited at least three times a semester. I went from living with my parents for 18 years to figuring out everything on my own. The days I missed home the most was when I would get sick, I would have to get my own medicine and make my own soup.

As my collegiate career came to end, I decided to come back and settle into what I knew best, which was home. I do not regret leaving because I had so many experiences that I would not had if I had not left the bubble.

Now, I’m hoping to once again venture beyond the bubble and go to graduate school in the sports journalism program at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University





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