Tag Archives: media

Towards a New Beginning

Hello everyone,

It’s Gen here! Hope you are all doing well in the blogosphere. I decided to write a blog post about my experiences as an undergrad and graduation. Given that my words are not always clear, I wanted to see if I could describe the feeling I felt not so long ago.

Some of you may know that I graduated 2 weeks ago and some may not. I now understand when people say that “time flies” because these past 4 years flew in lightning speed. I can say that I took advantage of all the opportunities with my university and what I so proudly call my home. I was able to have 4 jobs, studied in D.C., had an internship at Justice, and was a chancellor honors student for 4 years! Through this course of my undergraduate career, I met people that have changed my life in the best way possible. I thought coming from high school I was knowledgeable and mature, but coming to college was a different story…

Background

I am a first-generation, Mexican-American, and a bilingual student. I am the first one in my family to graduate from a university. As the oldest of 10, there is a sense of responsibility and determination because my hard work is reflected among my whole family. My values have always been family and my faith. In college, I was truly tested by external pressures, but I never once did anything I regretted or was unsure of. I left home feeling excited, but some of the days I called my mother crying asking “if it will be better?” She would respond va haber sacrificios que tendrás que tomar. Estás aquí por una razón. Sigue adelante. To translate she said in life there will be sacrifices and you are here for a reason. Keep moving forward. Those words have stayed with me for the past 4 years to keep moving forward even through the challenges that life gives you. Normally, I am quite extroverted and take the initiative to start a conversation with the potential stranger, but I didn’t that very first semester. Here comes the sob story during my first-semester I attended classes and would head straight to my residence hall. I would eat in my room and would hardly socialize. My time consisted sleep, studying, reading for classes, and eating. I knew many felt the way I had been feeling and after my 2nd semester I was determined to be involved. I was going through stage of culture shock and I finally realized that being isolated wasn’t helping me grow or feel connected to my school.

Loss

No one ever prepares you for the unforeseen circumstances such as loss. I lost one of my close friends. He and I connected with some hall-mates in the residence halls in my first year. My roommate and I had an open door policy where we would leave the door open and people could come into our room and hang out. Most of the students back in 2013 did that; I have no idea if they still do it today. He knocked on the door and just introduced himself. He had a tendency to have his shirt off and my friend and I had commented about it.  All 3 of us started a conversation in the hallway another friend we had meet in the dorms also joined in. An hour passed, and we were still talking by the doorway the two gentleman had not come into our room until my roommate invited them in. That night we stayed up talking until 4 a.m. Even though it was 4 years ago, I still remember a lot of that night. We then made it a tradition on Fridays to have game night in one of the lounges. He taught me a lesson that I still have trouble following “to not take life too seriously and to smile more often.” I guess he noticed my stressed nights, bags under my eyes, and hesitating whether I should study more or grab a bite to eat with the group. Most of the invitations were yes because I wanted friends who accepted me the way I was all sheltered and naive and thats what they did. Accepted me for who I am and not trying to change who I was becoming.

These people came into my life when I needed them the most. I came to college to gain an education and to become a well-rounded person, but what I gained went far beyond my expectations. In November 2014, we lost HIM I remember that day vividly well. I don’t really like to talk about it because I want to remember him as that happy, goofy, game loving amigo. I know he touched a lot of people in the year and a half he was there. The grief was cyclical and it came with stages. I felt selfish trying to concentrate on my studies and knowing that he would never be able to study for a midterm, hug his mom, or marry his fiancé ever again. I fell in a state of not caring and it became harder for me to study or read for classes. I was thinking of taking a break, but I knew that Evan would not have wanted that. Yes, his name was Evan. He was a dreamer talked about becoming a veterinarian, marrying his girlfriend, and having children. He loved children and had a younger brother; he was not only pursuing education for his future, but also to help his little brother.

Those late night talks we all had were silly, but also deep and meaningful. We got to know each other as friends and I finally had a little family to call my own in a place that I had seen foreign my first semester.

I decided to continue my undergraduate journey this was not only for me, but also for my friend because he would never be able to cross the stage and even though it brings chills to this day I was able to move on with time. He will always remain in my heart and somehow I felt that he gave us something. To me– SPIRIT. A spirit to seize the day and be grateful of every encompassing moment. I only wish that we had taken pictures because he wasn’t one that liked that at all.

I wish I could write everything that I experienced these past 4 years, but a 3 page blog post would turn into a full book. I am published, so who knows I might dabble in writing something in the future :).

Lessons

I learned so much about myself like I have said in the beginning of the blog post. I think some advice that I would give past me would be to enjoy every moment even if its studying or taking that difficult game theory class. Enjoy every moment because our future is uncertain. Step out of your comfort zone because that is how you grow by making mistakes and learning from those failures. Be willing to be okay with being uncomfortable certain situations may not always be sparkly and that’s okay. Maintain a positive outlook and try to be open minded. The most difficult advice to follow has been to accept failure. A wise person once told me that we fail a lot more than we succeed. What I interpret from this is our failures shape who we become and allows us to grow strong if we are willing to climb that rock, wall, or tree. Know your values and who you are. This could be difficult because college at times challenges this notion, but at the end of the day remind yourself WHY you are here and the goals you want to accomplish.

I planned my future, but unexpected things have occurred and know I am in the process of self-discovery. Even though I am creating my own path I am leaving a trail so I do not get lost. I hope I ignite that passion and to keep my spirit high even with the upcoming challenges I will inevitably face.

Graduation 

The feeling was like nothing I ever experienced or truly imagined. I still couldn’t fathom that I was going to be a soon to be graduate. Everyone was asking me in the past week “how I was feeling?” My answer “nothing.” In reality, I was pleading that time would just stop and wishing for a teleport machine, so that I could look back at the moments that have meant so much to me.  Graduation meant more to me because I was finally going to be able to graduate from the same school all 4 years. This was something I was unable to do in high school. Merced had become home, a safe haven– my overall stability.

As I was putting my cap and gown, it became very real that I would never be an undergraduate student again. Each stole symbolized what I ended up contributing to  my school. As I was zipping my gown, all I could recollect were the memories that my university symbolized. My cap was not decorated it was an empty canvas filled with possibility sort of a parallel to the mindset I had as a first-year.  That morning I woke up with a smile and my heart began to race. My close friends who have become sisters and who I feel blessed to have met we all got ready together. We wore cake faced makeup and did our hair which most of the time is unbrushed and messy. I remember eating 2 donuts because I was not willing to be in a 3 hour ceremony with only water in my stomach. I do-nut wanted that to happen. That morning I didn’t know what to expect. All I saw was a sea of blue in every corner. Every student that I saw sported a different facial expression and I was curious to know what they were thinking.

We started walking with my class I couldn’t help, but smile and look forward. I was ascending to adulthood not the real world because I believe that the real world is college. I sat next to my best friends and we could not be happier. We were all feeling different emotions and we tried our best to understand each other. As my name was being called, I heard cheers and applause I couldn’t help, but just put my hands up and smile. On stage, everything sort of stood still as if someone paused this moment for me to recollect every movement and instant in the future. I am a public person and I shared everything through Instagram and Snapchat the power of technology is pretty mind boggling.

This has been an amazing experience and I feel grateful to have gone through this journey that many aren’t able to pursue because they reach the top of a ceiling. I hope to give back to all those young people who may not have the resources to pursue what they desperately want. Even though, I have finished my undergrad learning never stops. I feel confident in the woman I have become and will live my life the way I want to live it.

To all the people who are graduating it’s okay to not know where you are going. Everything happens for a reason. Watch USC’s Commencement Speech with Will Ferrell if I have not convinced you.

Thank you for reading!

Signing off,

Genesis


You Are Your Worth: Winning the Inner Battle

Countless amounts of times we are looked down upon because we aren’t wearing the trendiest outfit, or don’t look a certain way, or don’t fit the exact stereotypical image. It’s so important for you to know that YOU are strong and beautiful in your own way. It doesn’t matter how many times we are put down by others as long as we know who we are and comfortable with our own skin. If you know your own worth than you should not care by the comments or the other voices that linger in your head.

A lot of beauty comes from the mind. It makes us think what beauty really is. The Oxford English Dictionary defines beauty as “A combination of qualities such as shape, color, or form that pleases the aesthetic senses.” Aesthetics is how one sees art. The quote “true beauty is in the eye of the beholder” is very important, but people are more blinded by the intricacies than seeing the full picture. We are blinded by the details and don’t focus on the artwork at hand. I am writing this post as my contribution to helping out to the people who have ever lost confidence and don’t see themselves as beautiful and that at times hate themselves for looking as a certain way. Again I reiterate that YOU are beautiful. I understand that hearing this from a stranger maybe odd and it won’t immediately make you love yourself. I hope that by the end of this post you realize that you are more than just the exterior and beauty shape-shifts into many different forms.

I also wanted to write this blog post because I feel as the accepted image of beauty is taking over. You may wonder what is the accepted image? It is the image of the thigh gaps, the very skinny physique, the full-faced makeup individual, which has blonde hair or full black hair. This is the image that the media and society has ingrained beauty to be in our minds. THAT is beauty and I want to tell you all that beauty doesn’t have to be THAT.

We judge each other based on our looks, but what does that tells us about society? Instead of criticizing why don’t we learn to embrace what is out of the norm. People should feel beautiful without consequences without feeling weird or rejected from society. Feeling beautiful is such good feeling; we want young women to feel confident to feel empowered and that they of course matter. See how this plays with the mind because often times its OUR own mind that tells us how we should look like. I believe that the standards of beauty need to change. There are so many beautiful people, but no one particular image should be overpowering the others. There is a struggle with one own mind in feeling confident and beautiful. I look at as if it were tug of war one side being the accepted societal image and the other side being one’s own unique image. It’s a battle that must be fought for because many girls fall into the accepted image and there are consequences that have hurt many girls. Even guys at times lose the battle as well.

There are so many young girls who have difficulty in trying to fit in so they begin to starve themselves, watching what they eat, become bulimic, or workout excessively and sometimes it’s all of the above. All these things are unhealthy. Why the ridicule? Why the bullying? It doesn’t help that little comments like “I’m so fat” or “I can’t eat pizza I need to watch what I eat” become normal.  This isn’t healthy nor is it normal. We need to stop with this culture. The key is building one’s confidence to feel both beautiful internally and externally. Know that the women in the magazines are not as real as you think many are retouched, photoshopped, have hair and makeup done professionally, and have unhealthy body proportions. If we keep allowing this accepted image to continue we are reproducing this image to the future generation and I can’t imagine how unhealthier it can become.

Why do people force themselves to go to extreme lengths to look a certain way? I ask why do you think they do this? Its because of societal pressures, of course that is not always the answer everyone has their own story and in no way does this answer apply to all, but for some it could be due to do that for the pressure to fit in. This is especially common for women who are pre-teens and teenagers. They want to fit in and not become secluded or be labeled as weird. The game or I like to call it the battle begins and women fall to the accepted image. We keep holding on to the rope trying to win and show that we have conquered the game, but it keeps on repeating. The other side becoming stronger and stronger with each game.

We keep maturing as we get older and being a teenager is hard enough. These young ladies are in a vulnerable state of their lives because they are growing up and are susceptible to what friends want or need rather than focusing on oneself. This of course doesn’t apply to all, but I look at it as a game of ring around the rosies. Everyone is holding hands with another happy with the group of people in a circle, but once the song ends the circle falls apart and the person is alone. The circle could represent societal standards the people in the circle could represent friends, media, even family. The fall and separation with others could represent the inner struggle with one’s own mind feeling isolated. It could also be the other way around. Again this analogy could be difficult to understand and that is okay. Try creating your own analogy; for me it makes sense to make it seem like that because I used to play that game. It’s crucial for society to focus beauty as an interior beauty. I like how models are accepting and are expressing that the standards of beauty should vary within culture and different parts of the world. We need to realize that we live in a world full of ambition and consumerism there is always someone trying to sell something for us so that we become more inclined to buy. Sadly the media/society is selling us that image.

I think what is most beautiful is one’s own personality and character.

As you have read through my post, I hope you are realizing that you are beautiful and it maybe difficult to reject the norms that society has ingrained within us. As a college student, I see a lot of women really confident and proud of how they look. It brings a smile to my face because they aren’t assimilating. They know they are unique and beautiful even without makeup, with their weight, and with their personality. Its good to feel confident and have an ego no one should tell you otherwise because once you feel confident you will see the world in a different way.

When I was a teenager I struggled with beauty. I am 5’2 rather short and curvy. I have a young facial complexion and have wide feet. I don’t have abs at all even though I run and my shoulders are broad. I had felt that my body was disproportionate and I was very careful with what I wore. I never considered myself beautiful because I didn’t see appearance as a big thing. I would not do my hair and never wore makeup. I just didn’t see beauty as something in the exterior, which is a good mindset to have, but the problem was that I was not confident in myself or saw myself beautiful in either forms-exterior and interior. This is where I wish I had been stronger because I do consider myself beautiful in the outside and in the inside. I try my best for my character to shine through. I now do put makeup. I style myself and I feel confident because I have that mindset of feeling like I matter. Feeling beautiful should not be considered as being conceited. There will always be people, who will have good or bad opinions, but it is up to US to feel proud and confident in whom we are no matter what others say. I am not going to deny that sometimes I don’t feel beautiful it’s that inner struggle with myself that many young ladies my age struggle with. But I remind myself that I am a strong independent and beautiful woman. The definition of beauty should be different for everyone. I still feel uncomfortable embracing certain parts of my body or even have the confidence to call them beautiful. Even now, I am still playing a game of ring around the Rosies and tug of war, but I make sure that I end up winning and the standards or stereotypical image end up falling/losing.

 

I hope that my story inspires you to be proud of your own worth. I hope that this post inspires discussion and one by one we can start increasing young women’s confidence and beauty perspectives. Everyone is unique and we should embrace the differences within us rather than try to fit into an image that doesn’t reflect who we are.

The definition of beauty has changed all throughout time. Hopefully it will keep changing toward a positive body image and many different perspectives of beauty.

You are beautiful and are worth so much.Remember to know that you are not alone and there are people that can help.

Love,

Gen