I cannot believe that this summer is just about over and that fall semester will begin next week! With the ending of summer comes the completion of my summer internship at the National Forum. This experience at the National Forum was a positive one that allowed me to use my skills in administration more definably throughout the summer.
One experience that had been afforded to me during this internship was connecting with graduate students working at the Forum. This connection with graduate students is critical to me because, after undergraduate school, I would like to continue my higher education towards graduate school. Being a first-generation student means I don’t have the advantage of speaking to my family about my next educational steps or to even gain academic insights. I believe being surrounded by positive influences, such as graduate students, allows my mind to accept that graduate school can be obtainable by me. It may sound silly that half the battle is envisioning myself in a particular space, role, or position, but it is half the battle for me.
Not knowing what my academic future holds for me is unnerving, to say the least, but having strong, successful Latino graduate students surround me is encouraging. Many of these graduate students are first-generation students themselves who have paved their own story of academic success. – I find this beyond encouraging. Encouraging because I can see individuals doing what my heart desires – graduate school. Seeing them allows me to create a success narrative of “I, too, can be successful as a graduate student.”
I hold a lot of fear towards my academic journey because I’m the first one in my family pursuing higher education. Being the first to attend higher education is both rewarding and discouraging. Rewarding because I am changing the narrative in my family for generations to come; discouraging because I don’t have academic touching stones within my family – instead, I must actively seek out my own educational touching stones through professors, academic advisors, graduate students, etc. However, I am blessed to have some amazing mentors in my life that continue to encourage me throughout my uncharted academic journey.
This summer internship was more than an internship but a reflection of where I am headed for my next academic journey. – And for this insight and encouragement, I am thankful.