A Letter to My Younger Self

Dear Younger Self,

I am not the person you wanted me to be, in fact I think in some aspects I am the complete opposite of what you envisioned. I’m not what you dreamed of, but let me tell you that you will be grateful for that and that it’s probably for the best you did not get what you wanted. You’re actually not going to get a lot of the things that you wanted but I am still here, alive and more than satisfied with the cards I’ve been dealt. You heard that right: rejection will become a huge part of your life, but you need to learn to look past it and continue with your endeavors. Rejection will not only make you a tougher person with greater aspirations and a greater drive, but it will also steer you towards the direction you’re meant to take.

I want to tell you to please be kind to yourself and realize that if you cannot accomplish everything you plan for yourself that is okay. Stop beating yourself up over situations that were out of your control. You are so forgiving with others but you need to learn how to forgive yourself. Be kind to yourself but stop over-indulging so much. You really need to stop looking at things in black and white and allow yourself to be in the middle. You really don’t realize how easier life becomes when you stop aiming for extremes.

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What I Wish I’d Known Before College- Part 1

You always seem to see and hear about the great things surrounding college: yes, you meet new people, you get to experience new opportunities, and you are finally an adult! It’s all so amazing and exciting, and even if college classes are difficult how bad could it get, right? Adjusting to college life and to new responsibilities, however, is something people don’t really talk about because of shame or discomfort. Change is really hard, and nobody talks in detail about all the personal obstacles and about those moments where you really doubt if you even belong in college.

Talking about their own experiences in college and what they wish they would have known are Ana Espaderos and Maria Mendoza, current undergrad students at Texas A&M and Harvard University, respectively. Their stories are not only inspiring but also refreshing reminders that success never comes easy.

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Why I Am Actually Not “Lucky” To Be A Minority, and Debunking Other Privileged Misconceptions

If I had a dollar for every time I’ve been told “Wow, you’re so lucky you’re Hispanic and your parents don’t make that much money, you must qualify for, like, so many scholarships,” I wouldn’t actually need the scholarships. What I hear is “Hey, you don’t receive the same opportunities and privileges as I do so it must me great to receive a stepping stool to reach barely half of what I am able to!” Newsflash: that stepping stool is not some free gift that’s just handed to you. For some reason non-marginalized people believe some degree of oppression and inequality buys you a pass to an easy life, a notion that slaps me on the daily and that I’ve yet to understand. By attributing our success to our identities you invalidate our efforts and insult our struggle.

Let me tell why I’m actually not lucky to be a minority/low-income/first generation immigrant/student, but before I do that let me tell you about the people who belittled my choices in colleges I was applying to because I was “aiming too high,” insinuating skepticism towards my abilities and in turn causing me to doubt myself. Let me tell you about the number of colleges that rejected me because of my resident status and intentionally denied me an opportunity based on something that was out of my control.Let me tell you about the nights I spent quietly crying in the bathroom trying to determine how exactly I was going to pay for college when I knew my parents were virtually unable to contribute even a small percentage. Let me tell you about the complete hopelessness I felt when trying to learn how to fill out the FAFSA and other important forms because I had nobody to teach me how to interpret and duplicate the information on my parents’ tax returns.

Let me tell you about how I can’t even decipher what I’m typing right now because recalling every obstacle I’ve been faced with and continue to face brings tears to my eyes because it’s just not fair. We’ve never asked to be put in this situation of adversity. We’ve never asked to take on so much responsibility at such a young age and with such a lack of direction. We’ve never asked to be placed in a perpetual state of uncertainty about things that our peers don’t even have to think twice about, but I’m supposed to believe I’m “lucky.”

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You’re an Adult… Now What?

If you’re like me and get yourself stuck in a lot of tricky situations your first resort is to look for an adult, but at this point in life I’ve come to realize that I am an adult. With this realizations comes the fact that the world does not revolve around me and I have to take responsibility for all of my actions and their respective repercussions. Sad, I know! With that being said I also have all the freedom in the world to finally engage in my interests and pursue what I’ve always wanted to do, so I guess being 20 isn’t as scary as it seems to be. It’s time for us wavy girls to leave our comfort zones and discover what the world has in store for us and what baggage should be permanently left behind.

You always used to say “When I grow up, I want to do so and so and be so and so.” Well, guess what? You’re a grown up now; have you met all those lofty dreams you proposed as an idealist 7-year-old who also believed Lindsay Lohan had a real twin in The Parent Trap? I’m not saying all those dreams were idle desires derived from having a wild imagination; there certainly had to be some realistic and fully manageable goals that are not too late to reach, and it is also never too late to create new ones. Do not, however, confuse these goals with temporary tasks. The goals I’m talking about are those that you continuously contribute to and that will lead you to the life you’ve always wanted to achieve, and that not only look good on a resume or when introducing yourself to a colleague or at a party but that also factor into your happiness and well-being.

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