It is spring break but it is still snowing here outside of La Guardia Airport after New York’s snow storm of the year. How I was able to reschedule my flight after having had it cancelled is beyond me, but I am more than ready to finally go home to Houston to see my family and unwind after some of my most hectic few weeks. You haven’t heard from me in a while because a lot of stuff has been going on in my life right now. I’ve been blessed with many new opportunities but have also faced even more failures, however if you know me you know I don’t accept defeat. Though I am still recovering from midterms I am eager to share with you all where I’m currently at and where I expect I will be headed.
Two weeks ago I started my job as a Democracy Coach with Generation Citizen, and while I was hesitant at first since it is an unpaid position I know now that I made one of the best decisions of my life. Generation Citizen is a non-profit organization that’s been around for a couple of years; their goal is to guide students towards becoming active citizens in their community through first-hand experiences and direct action. As a Democracy Coach I am teaching a civics course at a local high school in Brooklyn to high school seniors, but it is not just any regular civics course: throughout the semester these students get to choose a community issue and from there identify a focus issue they wish to change. They learn about advocacy and develop tools on how to go about creating change in their communities by contacting their local representatives, raising awareness on campus and in their neighborhoods, and producing an action plan. I was worried at first because as second semester seniors I know first-hand how senioritis is at its full force, but I was pleasantly surprised when these young bright students received me with great attentiveness and welcoming smiles. Their knowledge on political matters and their past experience volunteering and being active in their communities is admirable and inspiring, and every time I leave the classroom I leave extremely satisfied with the biggest smile on my face.
While starting this position I was also offered another job as an administrative office intern, so time management and prioritization will become indispensable skills to say the least. I must admit I’m really worried how this will play out since I am struggling with my classes, but I am doing this out of necessity and know that I will hustle through. I was also given the opportunity to spend this past weekend at Washington D.C. with other NYU students through the Academic Achievement Program. It was a short trip and I have been to D.C. before, but as I’ve come to realize it is not about the location but the people you’re with. I made a handful of new friends at NYU and even more memories. We visited the NYU D.C. campus, toured the many monuments at night, ate at Ben’s Chili Bowl, and of course partied with the locals. I also had the opportunity to visit the National Museum of African American History which I strongly recommend; it was so rich in material we stayed for a good 5 hours just taking it all in. It was a nice way to forget about midterms and to start my break. I was also ecstatic to have received a scholarship to study abroad in Madrid this summer and to find out that I will be dorming with two of my best friends next school year!
With all these amazing things that have happened I must be transparent with you and say that I also faced twice that amount in rejections, as it should be. I was not offered a summer position with Practice Makes Perfect as a classroom teacher the dates of the required training fall under my summer study abroad course. This was of course upsetting because I had gotten to the final phase of interviewing and was very much looking forward to earning that full-time teaching experience. I also did not receive the CAS College Cohort Leader position for next year where I would be leading a small cohort of incoming freshmen and guiding them towards making the best out of their next four years at NYU. For me this was an amazing on-campus leadership position and I had also gotten to the last phase of interviews for this opportunity; I genuinely believed I did amazing and was a great candidate, but now I know one should never be too confident. Before receiving the administrative office intern offer I had sent up to thirty job applications to every place offering employment, from offices to the gym to even vintage shops; I was feeling dispirited and hopeless. I was also not accepted to a Wells Fargo leadership conference nor to one of their summer internships. Because all of these setbacks came consecutively after each other I felt a drop in my confidence and felt discouraged, but I remember something my mom always tells me: if it’s not for you it’s just not for you, but there will always come something better. My application to create an urban Latin dance team at NYU was also denied, but I sent in an appeal and went as far as to setting up a meeting with the Student Activities Board to further clarify the club’s logistics and the many benefits it would bring to campus because when I believe in something so strongly I do not take no for an answer.
As I write all of this, I realize how the positives far outweigh the negatives. I tend to dwell on the rejections for far longer than I do on my blessings, but in the long run it is only the positives that end up being relevant. In the moment you feel so defeated that the disappointment clouds your vision for the future, but that is why you should reflect often and continuously realign your goals. These past two weeks have been a test and I was continuously pulled out of my comfort zone, yet here I stand looking forward to tomorrow and planning how I will make the best out of the cards I am dealt.
I want you guys to reflect on your successes and your failures these past two weeks. If you are feeling bold write your own diary entry in the comments below to be featured next week; if you don’t feel too comfortable and would prefer to remain anonymous you can always e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I want to hear your reflections and be inspired!