Who Am I And Who Am I Becoming
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Politics and Activism

Who Am I And Who Am I Becoming

Self-discovery of who I am and what I want in life.

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Who Am I And Who Am I Becoming
SELF DISCOVERY LLP

A pioneer is a person who is among the first to explore a new area. We tend to be pioneers in several different ways, whether it be discovering a new genre of music or simply adding a few new ingredients to your favorite recipe. For me, and probably several of you sitting in this room, we are pioneering here at the University of Portland as college students. I, personally, am exploring the unknowns of higher education as a first generation student. Not a single member of my family so far has set foot in this type of territory. At the moment, I am just a family member, but I am becoming a leader within my family. There are several key reasons why I wish to pursue the path of becoming a leader. First, I want to be the family member that younger generations look to for motivation and determination. I want to disprove the stereotypes that have been attached not only with my family, but with my culture. Finally, I want to strive to become a leader because I want others to see that fitting-in isn’t always the right path.

As I was growing up, it was really hard to imagine myself going to college because no one in my family had ever done it. My grandparents did not attend college, my parents did not attend college, nor did any other member of my family. For me, the task seemed impossible, even at a young age. I mean, what made me so different that I could accomplish such a thing that even my strong daddy couldn’t do. Now that I am here standing in a class at college, I think how much easier the journey here would have been if I had someone to look up to or to simply just ask for advice. I realize that I want to become and am becoming a leader in my family because I believe that by me being here it is setting example for my three younger brothers and my other younger family members. I am hoping that by my being here they will feel more comfortable to divert from the path — a task that I thought was nearly impossible. From what I understand, a leader leads a person or multiple people towards a better direction or path. Not taking the stereotypical course leads into my next reason for why I am becoming a leader.

Stereotypes are in society for a reason. They establish a stigma towards a certain group of individuals because that group or individuals within that group have repeatedly done a certain action. Sometimes it’s just really hard for someone to break away from these stereotypes. It was for me, at least. Growing up, I realized my family had stereotypes within themselves. My grandparents never thought much of a majority of my uncles, aunts, and cousins having kids at 15, 16, and 17 years old. They never thought much of dropping out of high school. I know some this might come as crazy to you, but you have to understand that I am from Las Vegas. Las Vegas has one of the highest drop-out rates in the country because it is a lot easier for young people to get great paying jobs within the hotels and not need a high school diploma. So everyone in the family began to believe that this is just the norm. We all stereotyped each other as unambitious individuals. We automatically assumed that the younger generations would follow these footsteps. To be honest, some did and some didn’t. But I am becoming a leader in my family by breaking these stereotypes. I know that by being here I am showing my younger female cousins that getting pregnant at a young age isn’t just a norm. For my younger male cousins, I know that showing that one does not have to be satisfied with working a minimum wage job at the hotels just because that is what every other family member has done. This leads to my final point about not fitting in.

My aspirations to separate from just only being a family member to being a leader in the family has come with several obstacles. One of the obstacles is that I have had a hard time adjusting to not fitting in. As I mentioned before, I am separating from the path that has been leading my family members into not-so-great directions. Separating from this path has led to several mixed emotions among my family members. Some good and others not so good. My parents and siblings have given me their nonstop support. On the other hand, I have had several relatives call me out as a person in the family who has “unrealistic ambitions” or who is “trying to achieve a dream that will never become a reality.” I have had family members blatantly tell me that they know I can’t succeed or that I seem to think that I am better than everyone else. Even though I have a strong backbone from the support of my parents, it hurts to hear these words. It hurts to hear from your cousin with whom you grew up playing Barbie dolls that you are a show off and won’t succeed in life. It all hurts. But, as I mentioned before, I am beginning to realize that fitting in or being a follower is not the right path for me. Instead, I am leading younger generations of my family into the idea that fitting in the norm isn’t necessary and that the negative things people say now will eventually come back to haunt them. That concludes my final explanation for this major transition in my life.

I have strong feelings about this transition in my life. I feel that learning to beat the stereotypes, ignore the criticism, and just do me will definitely put me better off in the long run. I am much stronger and feel that this journey of pioneering the unknown is in reach. I am becoming the motivation for future generations. I am breaking away from stereotypes. I am realizing fitting in isn’t always the right thing. I feel that this quote by Rick Warren sums up my piece. “Those who follow the crowd usually get lost in it.” I am not choosing to get lost or just be another family member; I am choosing to become and hopefully am already becoming a leader.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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