Being A First Generation American Takes More Strength And Determination Than Any Job On A Resume

Being A First Generation American Takes More Strength And Determination Than Any Job On A Resume

In the end, I have to repay my mom for everything she sacrificed for me to be standing where I'm standing right now.

AlexRo
AlexRo
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My mom and dad come from the same small village in Mexico. Tuzantlan is a village within the state of Puebla, with just over 1000 inhabitants. It wouldn't be an exaggeration to say that there a more people from this village living in Yonkers, NY, than there are in the actual village. Tuzantlan relies on its farmable terrain to remain afloat. My grandparents from both sides of my family were all farmers. Farming is the path of most of my family members prior to my parents' generations. It is what I would be doing right now had my parents not decided to leave Tuzantlan one day with no more than 1000 pesos.

My parents met at school. They went to the same elementary school, the only school in Tuzantlan. They both had to stop going to school after the fifth grade because they had to start working. Poverty was prevalent in our family - it seemed like an endless cycle, endless until my parents' generation came about.

It was like a coming of age ritual for my family. Anytime an aunt or uncle got married, their honeymoon destination would be a one-way ticket to New York via a shady truck through the Mexican border. My mother was the youngest of 12, meaning that she was the very last one to get married and thus the last one to make it to America. She married my dad at the age of 19 and less then a month later she was in America, thriving for the success and happiness that this country had promised.

She was young, ambitious, and very naive. She had a lot to learn, not only about this country but about herself. After a couple of months of being in New York, she became pregnant with me. Five years later she became a single parent. No English, no money, no family to support her. Even with all these obstacles, not to mention the systematic oppression that she faced as a Mexican immigrant, she still became the amazing parent that she is and was able to do it all by herself.

Growing up, it never really fazed me, the fact that I didn't have a normal family. My mom worried about the risk she was taking, of being in this country as an immigrant. She worried every day that she might be deported and forced to return to a country that she no longer had any connection to. She never made this apparent to my sisters and I. It was a fear that she hid in the back of her mind, hoping that it would not affect us.

My mom had many hopes for us not only as a mother but as a mother that had faced so much adversity for us to be where we were. She never said so, but in my mind, I knew that my accomplishments would serve to validate every struggle, every part-time job, all the sweat and tears that she powered through. She expected us all to graduate high school and then to eventually graduate from college. She had no idea what this meant, being that she only went up to the fifth grade.

I was the first in my immediate family to be born in the United States. Then I became the first to graduate high school. And now I am the first to have attended college. If I were to stop right now, I would have still accomplished so much more than what is expected. As a first generation American, I have to make sure that my success and the success of my sisters is paramount.

In the end, I have to repay my mom for everything she sacrificed for me to be standing where I'm standing right now.

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'As A Woman,' I Don't Need To Fit Your Preconceived Political Assumptions About Women

I refuse to be categorized and I refuse to be defined by others. Yes, I am a woman, but I am so much more.

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It is quite possible to say that the United States has never seen such a time of divisiveness, partisanship, and extreme animosity of those on different sides of the political spectrum. Social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are saturated with posts of political opinions and are matched with comments that express not only disagreement but too often, words of hatred. Many who cannot understand others' political beliefs rarely even respect them.

As a female, Republican, college student, I feel I receive the most confusion from others regarding my political opinions. Whenever I post or write something supporting a conservative or expressing my right-leaning beliefs and I see a comment has been left, I almost always know what words their comment will begin with. Or in conversation, if I make my beliefs known and someone begins to respond, I can practically hear the words before they leave their mouth.

"As a woman…"

This initial phrase is often followed by a question, generally surrounding how I could publicly support a Republican candidate or maintain conservative beliefs. "As a woman, how can you support Donald Trump?" or "As a woman, how can you support pro-life policies?" and, my personal favorite, "As a woman, how did you not want Hillary for president?"

Although I understand their sentiment, I cannot respect it. Yes, being a woman is a part of who I am, but it in no way determines who I am. My sex has not and will not adjudicate my goals, my passions, or my work. It will not influence the way in which I think or the way in which I express those thoughts. Further, your mention of my sex as the primary logic for condemning such expressions will not change my adherence to defending what I share. Nor should it.

To conduct your questioning of my politics by inferring that my sex should influence my ideology is not only offensive, it's sexist.

It disregards my other qualifications and renders them worthless. It disregards my work as a student of political science. It disregards my hours of research dedicated to writing about politics. It disregards my creativity as an author and my knowledge of the subjects I choose to discuss. It disregards the fundamental human right I possess to form my own opinion and my Constitutional right to express that opinion freely with others. And most notably, it disregards that I am an individual. An individual capable of forming my own opinions and being brave enough to share those with the world at the risk of receiving backlash and criticism. All I ask is for respect of that bravery and respect for my qualifications.

Words are powerful. They can be used to inspire, unite, and revolutionize. Yet, they can be abused, and too comfortably are. Opening a dialogue of political debate by confining me to my gender restricts the productivity of that debate from the start. Those simple but potent words overlook my identity and label me as a stereotype destined to fit into a mold. They indicate that in our debate, you cannot look past my sex. That you will not be receptive to what I have to say if it doesn't fit into what I should be saying, "as a woman."

That is the issue with politics today. The media and our politicians, those who are meant to encourage and protect democracy, divide us into these stereotypes. We are too often told that because we are female, because we are young adults, because we are a minority, because we are middle-aged males without college degrees, that we are meant to vote and to feel one way, and any other way is misguided. Before a conversation has begun, we are divided against our will. Too many of us fail to inform ourselves of the issues and construct opinions that are entirely our own, unencumbered by what the mainstream tells us we are meant to believe.

We, as a people, have become limited to these classifications. Are we not more than a demographic?

As a student of political science, seeking to enter a workforce dominated by men, yes, I am a woman, but foremost I am a scholar, I am a leader, and I am autonomous. I refuse to be categorized and I refuse to be defined by others. Yes, I am a woman, but I am so much more.

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Educate Yourself And Spread Facts, Not Bias

Do you know the truth? Or are you allowing rumors to cloud your judgement of the political arena?

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In our society, the government has grown to be a capitalistic effort. Payout, backroom deals, we are unaware of many actions those that represent us take behind closed doors. The transparency we think we see is unrealistic and just not the way that politics actually work. In the entire world, governance has become essential to the survival and future of society. No two governments are the same, and they are essentially ever changing as many people of power change constantly.

This being said influence from these individuals rule the political sphere. Whether it be a local councilperson, senator, governor, or even the president.IN the U.S. our daily lives and wellbeing rest in the hands of the few. Some of these politicians are honest and work genuinely for the people. However, agenda frequently takes over the arena and leaves the decisions of our livelihood to the gains of politicians.

Our generation has the lowest voter turnout, leaving the decisions that we do have to older generations. Some of those hold ideologies that are not relevant nor acceptable to the climate we live in today. This is not a call to action but more of a thought. As someone who was incredibly uninvolved in politics, I wanted to look at why I lacked the care that other people my age held so passionately. I believe it starts with my distaste of conflict, which many people my age also agree with. Politics can lead to confrontation and negative conversation.

Therefore, who would want to make friendships and interactions awkward with an avoidable subject. I found myself straying from these conversations and becoming uncomfortable when friends assert opinions that I do not agree with. However, in taking classes where this environment hinges the change in industries I study. I was forced to form some type of opinion in the matter.

From here I decided to change the lens on how I looked at politics. Instead of shying away, I really listened to what my professors felt about it and their assertions. I then did my own research, looking into the history of matters that my peers and professors talked about. Educating myself on what the facts were, versus believing in rumors that I heard through the grapevine.

I started engaging friends in a positive manner, as opposing opinions are valuable in a holistic situational viewpoint. I became comfortable in the discomfort of politics and worked to learn what may be in store for our world. My point for this is to educate yourself on genuine fact. Do not assert opinions based on information that your friend or even a professor gives you, keep your knowledge on the subject relevant.

You never know when legislation may come out that seriously effects your way of life. Most importantly, knowledge is power and power is what those that leave us in ignorance have over us.

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