This I Believe

Linda - Albany, New York
Entered on December 14, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: change, immigrant

When I first began to write this essay, I thought my focus was going to be on change. I recognized that I didn’t believe in change. This doesn’t mean I don’t believe in growth, its actually the contrary. I believe in building, not stripping, but adding to the development and evolution of my character.

In reflecting on my identity as a Hispanic, undergraduate student and working class female. I began to take notice of the way that I present myself to the world. Although, I grew up in a poverty stricken home, I do not resent my parents. I embrace, love and recognize the struggle they endured while raising me. I admire their courage and wouldn’t change anything from my adolescents because it has made me who I am. Although, my father couldn’t find a job for twenty years, I don’t hold it against him because he was active in my life. While my mother was working, he was home cooking and cleaning. His presence in my life especially during adolescence helped develop our relationship.

If I believed in change I wouldn’t even deal with them because I would focus more on what they could have done better. If I believed in change, I wouldn’t hold on to my difference with both hands. I make a conscious effort not to assimilate to the culture that dominates my surrounding. I am an English major at the University at Albany, and at times one of the few, if not the only Hispanic/minority in my classes. This does not mean that I let go of my heritage to try and adapt to the population around me. Instead I use my history to help me move through life. My past experiences help me deal with my present situations. I could easily learn to talk and act like the students around me. But I choose not to. I love my Hispanic, Bronx accent. I love being able to articulate my ideas without sounding like I am trying to be what I am not.

I believe in building. In developing myself, not by letting go of my past, but by leaning from that history and recreating a better me through knowledge and introspection. I believe in the process of learning to add on to the magnificence of my character…