Irvin Garcia says he knew he wanted to be a doctor when he was 16, but as an undocumented immigrant he thought it was impossible.
LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Irvin Garcia and Alexis Alemán are two first-generation college students at UCLA who, against all odds, are on the path to becoming doctors -- while sharing their journey on social media.
Calling themselves "Foos in Medicine," Garcia and Aleman say they never expected the viral reaction to their online posts.
"People started reaching out to us and responding to it, and, 'Wow, you all inspire us so much,' like, 'That's so cool,'" Garcia said in an interview.
They've overcome many obstacles to get to UCLA. Alemán, who grew up in South Los Angeles, said his family and friends were skeptical when he told them he was going to medical school.
"Growing up I said 'I'm going to college' and they said 'Well, what's that going to look like? No one goes to college, really, where you're from. So, OK, college -- What are you going to really do to make money? Get a real job," said Alemán.
Garcia said he knew he wanted to be a doctor when he was 16, but as an undocumented immigrant who worked in the fields, he thought it was impossible.
"I never even met someone who was in my shoes ever going to college," said Garcia. "I was like, even going to college, I don't even know if that's possible."
At UCLA, they started publishing posts on Instagram that show a day in the life of a med student. They say they also wanted to show where they come from, so they called it "Foos In Medicine".
"It's just something we identify with. Like, 'What's up, foo?' You just say that, and we're two foos," Alemán told ABC7.
Thousands of followers now show their support for the Foos in Medicine. Many say their story has motivated them to follow their dreams.
"If we can just inspire one person to think they can do it, because we're here, that's why we're going to do it," Alemán said.
Garcia and Alemán say they're having a lot of fun, but they have a deeper mission in mind. They are not forgetting where they came from, and they want to go back to provide health care to those who need it.
"If you have a physician that looks like you your background, your culture, speaks your language, you're going to feel 100 times more comfortable opening up something private, which is your health," said Alemán. "So, to me, we need more doctors coming from these communities like South Central. I can go back and be the doctor for my community."