I am going back to college this fall of 2021 after a gap year in 2020 and was going through my google docs. I stumbled upon an essay I did freshman year of college for my personal development class and the prompt was “Lifeline” where I was asked to write about my journey up until that point in discovering what I wanted to do and who I wanted to be while reflecting on all the things that have lead me to this choice. I edited it quite a bit to match my current state as of 2021. Many things have changed since I was eighteen, but it was a pleasant trip down memory lane.
The amount of times a young person gets asked the question throughout their lifetime, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” is almost insurmountable. The answer to that question, however, changes each year as we get older. At six years old, my answer would have been, “A fairy princess,” at age thirteen it would have been, “A writer,” at eighteen the answer would have been, “I don’t know, please don’t ask” and now at my current age of twenty-two, the answer would be, “Well, I am working towards finishing my Bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication and Media Studies at Arizona State University this fall. I am working in the field I am getting my education in at The Trinity Journal learning as much as I can about business in print media, although I expect to also be learning more about digital media in my classes. I plan to take this knowledge to explore the jobs in this field further. ” That would have to be the truest and most honest of them all at this point in my life, however, it’s funny to look back and think about how decisive I was at a young age. As I grew older my dreams began to get blurrier and blurrier as I faced the harsh realities of what this world had to offer me. Obviously, being a fairy princess was impossible, but hey you have to give six-year-old me credit for knowing who she wanted to be.
More than simply having an idea of what I would like to do with my life, I realize how privileged I am to have a support system that actively helps me in achieving my goals while remaining independent in my choices and ultimate decision making. I realize not everyone has this opportunity in life and there are so many people unable to realize their dreams due to a lack of support either financially or personally. I have been blessed with a loving mother and father whose guidance and strength continue to inspire me every day. My mother finished high school early and went straight into the workforce, she worked hard every single day, raised me, and made a life for both of us in Trinity County. She worked as the Deputy Director of Health and Human Services for many years, however, she knew she wanted to finish her education and pursue the next step in her career, so that is exactly what she did. She went to Simpson University and completed her Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and was then promoted to the Director of Health and Human Services. She worked there for 30+ years until she retired in March of 2020. I see my mother as an incredibly accomplished woman, both in her career and as a mother. Watching her while growing up as she became more and more of the deserving and powerful businesswoman she is, has only helped me appreciate the true undertaking of balancing life, love, and work. With her direction, I have grown up valuing education, trusting my intuition, and following my heart which are all qualities I am proud of and thankful for being taught. An individual’s family heavily impacts how they value work and the complexities of understanding its place in their lives.
From an early age, I remember my mom talking to me about diversity and how it will follow an individual all their lives based on their heritage, the color of their skin, and what gender they may be or identify with. Hearing her occasionally talk about how people negatively treated her based on her Hispanic ethnicity, made me sick to my stomach and I grew up having absolutely no tolerance for that kind of discrimination in my school and my life. I am proud of my heritage, I embrace it and love everything about my family and myself, it gives me a great sense of pride and purpose in knowing that I am not only pursuing an education for myself but for my family members who never got the chance to. In 2020, amidst the pandemic, the Black Lives Matter movement forced us all to take a look at ourselves and the state of our nation in regards to racism. Simply put, we could all improve ourselves, we could all use more education on the subject, and we can still do everything we can to help. The movement was a much-needed wake-up call that focused our attention on the community that needed it most, a community that was hurting and understandably furious at the powers that be. I don’t want to make this post all about the movement because quite frankly, I do not have the credibility to be discussing this topic and I do not have any formal education on the subject. I don’t want to dive into it further because that’s not the point of the movement, it’s not about self-inflating my own realizations and allyship. It’s not about companies profiting off of it to “look good” to their shareholders. It was a massive moment in history and for our country. It deserves to be treated as such with respect and dignity, as which we must treat each other.
Growing up as we form our own thoughts and opinions on things that matter to us, we also look for where we fit in based on those shared values and ideals. My parents never pushed me to do anything I didn’t want to do or participate in, they let me choose what I wanted to be a part of which I am forever grateful for. In my curiosity and exploration, I discovered my love for writing. As I wasn’t one for sports or anything remotely competitive, the individualism and creativity drew me to it. In the third grade, I remember quite vividly the assignment was poetry and we were getting feedback from the teacher on our writing. I handed my English teacher at the time my assignment and I will never forget him saying to me after critiquing my work, “You could be a great writer one day Victoria.” It was that single moment in time where someone saw greatness in me from the most trivial of circumstances that launched a lifelong love for the written word. I don’t remember a time when writing was not to my advantage, being able to be comfortable to learn and strengthen my writing has been a task and educational journey that is very special to me. I find my vocabulary and style transforming and shaping its way into something truly my own as the years’ pass.
With 2020 thankfully in our rearview mirror, it’s hard to ignore the damage it has done to so many of our lives. So many people left without jobs, forced to change their lives so drastically, and left without a purpose. I can’t say I had it as hard as anyone else because I know for a fact I did not. If anything this past year has taught me personally to evaluate the stage of life I am in and focus on the things and people that truly matter because you never know when those precious moments will be taken from you. I look at how I have chosen to navigate the past few years, simply trying to get by while also trying to do myself and my family proud. It’s been a bit of a roller coaster ride and of course, I wish there were some things I would have done differently, but otherwise, some of life’s challenges were unavoidable. I guess that’s just how it is though, life is a constant change that we are all simply trying to navigate as each individual’s morals, opinions, and routines vary so differently from one another. All the while we are trying to achieve the personal goals we have set for ourselves while taking these other people in our lives into account as well as our other obligations such as work, school, volunteering, or whatever it may be. However, I feel grateful to have gone through it all up to this point, because it has made me so much stronger both mentally and emotionally.
I suppose the point I am trying to make in all of this, is just that you shouldn’t feel the pressure to accomplish big steps in your life on someone else’s timeline. My mother and I both can attest to the fact that you can take your time to finish your goals. We all take different paths, so there is no need to rush these big moments in your life simply because so and so told you to or society told you to. Simply do what you can with what you have and make little steps every day to achieve your goals because you will get there eventually. When that day comes, you can look back at all the obstacles and challenges you went through with much kinder eyes knowing it was all part of your journey of self-discovery. I hope this helps anyone out there questioning their journey, wondering if the day will ever come where everything comes together and it was all worth it. As the little fortune from a fortune cookie taped on my work computer says, “Be patient! The Great Wall didn’t got build in one day.” (and yes, the grammar is incorrect, which makes it all the better to look at when there are rough days and all you need is a little laugh.)