The Egalitarian

Filed under Campus, Community

A beautiful struggle: Elisa Cardenas

HCC+student+Elisa+Cardenas%E2%80%99+faith+motivates+her+to+pursue+her+dreams+to+serve+those+less+fortunate.+
Back to Article
Back to Article

A beautiful struggle: Elisa Cardenas

HCC student Elisa Cardenas’ faith motivates her to pursue her dreams to serve those less fortunate.

HCC student Elisa Cardenas’ faith motivates her to pursue her dreams to serve those less fortunate.

Tri Tran

HCC student Elisa Cardenas’ faith motivates her to pursue her dreams to serve those less fortunate.

Tri Tran

Tri Tran

HCC student Elisa Cardenas’ faith motivates her to pursue her dreams to serve those less fortunate.

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






“I came from a broken home. I really didn’t have guidance. My parents never really got along, and so me and my sister suffered in-between,” recalled Elisa Cardenas, who experienced homelessness at 17.

Growing up, “I felt like I didn’t have a place in the world—an identity to actually call my own.”

“I’ve been through a lot of life experiences that have kind of broken me down as a person, but I never lost hope, and I never lost any of my beliefs and be like those who had the guidance.”

Despite not having guidance, Cardenas says “I always yearned to go to school and be somebody because I knew that was the key to be successful, and people will look at you in a better light.”

Cardenas is half Peruvian and half Italian, a first-generation American, and a first generation college student at Houston Community College.

Although Cardenas comes from a Christian background, she explains that, “Through my journey, I found God and I chose Islam…it has actually let me to where I am today because Islam encourages you to seek knowledge. I felt like I was blessed to be given the opportunity to enter school despite my struggles.”

Cardenas says that she always tells herself that, “It’s OK to have struggles, but it’s not OK to give up at all.”

“When I became Muslim, my whole world changed,” reflects Cardenas, “I’m just thankful to God that he’s giving me what he’s giving me right now and I just hope in the future that God blesses me to actually be a difference to other people. To help those that are in suffering because I have been through that. And without service to other people, my degree doesn’t mean anything—at all.”

Cardenas plans to become a dentist. “In my future, I’m not just looking to start a practice. I’m looking to service those who are less fortunate.”

She wants to start a non-profit organization called Bishallah Smiles. She explained that it would have a team of specialists who would service people in poverty-stricken areas.

“I have big dreams, and I hope that God will see me through and put me in a place to be a service to people,” says Cardenas, “for me it’s really important to have that so I can enter heaven.”

Her husband is also an HCC student studying political science. They recently welcomed a four-month-old daughter.

“She’s been a blessing and a joy,” says Cardenas, “She is just another reason for me to continue to have inspiration; to be able to provide for her and to show her things that I was never able to experience: love, mercy, guidance, encouragement to seek knowledge.”

“No one can see my face actually when I go to school,” she wears a veil which covers her entire face except for her eyes.

“When I wear my Niqab,” Cardenas laughs, “people assume that I’m part of ISIS, but I’m really not. I cover myself because God says a woman should preserve her beauty for her husband, and that’s what I do. It separates all misconceptions of men looking at me wrong or trying to be attracted to me.”

“My husband is the one to be blessed to see me.” However, Cardenas explained that her husband, “doesn’t make me cover my face. I chose to cover it.”

When people are quick to judge based on her Niqab, Cardenas says “I always encourage people to seek knowledge. Question everything that you know, because if you don’t you could always be in the wrong. I encourage people to not only ask questions, but if you happen to be the one to ask, to read about it. Have an open dialogue with people that you’re curious about or that unsure of. Know truth, that’s what Islam tells us.”

Cardenas is a full-time, active student at HCC. She is involved with the HCC Model U.N. organization, a member of the International Student Chamber of Commerce and a member of the STEM Club at Northwest. She was also just invited to join two honor societies: Phi Theta Kappa and The National Society of Collegiate Scholars.

“It’s been really a unique experience being involved in those organizations, and it shapes your focus. Those types of organizations give me an opportunity to actually pinpoint what you want to do with yourself,” says Cardenas, “I’m excited to be a part of HCC, and I hope that people in the future are encouraged to get into those societies.”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
About the Writer
Alyssa Foley, Editor

Alyssa served as The Egalitarian editor-in-chief from October 2014 - May 2016, and she served as the news editor from January 2017 - May 2017. She transferred...

1 Comment

One Response to “A beautiful struggle: Elisa Cardenas”

  1. jill graves on April 15th, 2016 3:23 pm

    Your story is of inspiration, empowerment and beauty. I was also homeless and have endured many trials and struggles. I am now grateful to be employed and have my own apartment. I want to thank you for wanting to serve humanity with such grace and strength. I served in the U S Army for fourteen years and want to suggest you try to work at the VA hospital. They are short staffed in all departments. thank you once again

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




*

Navigate Left
  • A beautiful struggle: Elisa Cardenas

    Campus

    Got Parking?

  • A beautiful struggle: Elisa Cardenas

    Campus

    HCC mourns over loss of Mark Chavarria

  • A beautiful struggle: Elisa Cardenas

    Campus

    HCC students participate in NASA program

  • A beautiful struggle: Elisa Cardenas

    Campus

    The Digital Media League hosts Week of Art at West Loop Campus

  • A beautiful struggle: Elisa Cardenas

    Campus

    The Beautiful Struggle: Roxanne Thompson

  • A beautiful struggle: Elisa Cardenas

    Campus

    The Beautiful Struggle: Tatesha Jones

  • A beautiful struggle: Elisa Cardenas

    Campus

    The Beautiful Struggle: Mona Mosley

  • A beautiful struggle: Elisa Cardenas

    Campus

    HCC Police Blotter: Feb 22 Edition

  • A beautiful struggle: Elisa Cardenas

    Campus

    Jack Kent Cooke award semifinalists

  • A beautiful struggle: Elisa Cardenas

    Community

    Speech winner calls hunger, “Mass destruction”

Navigate Right
The student news site of Houston Community College
A beautiful struggle: Elisa Cardenas