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  • Writer's pictureMariely German, University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth

Letters From the Unsure College Student

When I received an email from Ms. Aisha Brown from the ANA Educational Foundation regarding a recommendation to attend a National Millennial and Gen Z Community field trip to Cleveland, Ohio, I was more than ecstatic. But being introverted and having anxiety about trying new things almost steered me into not going in the first place. I didn’t know if I would fit in, I didn’t know if I fit the same standards that the other students attending did. Was I good enough to participate in something like this?

This field trip taught me I need to be confident in myself and the journey of life. I have new things to bring to the table and I am worthy of having a space at this table. A number of individuals inspired me to take control of this situation. The comfort that the other students brought to this trip allowed me to express myself in so many ways I never thought I could. If I’m being honest, I thought I was just going to sit in the back and watch but it’s the complete opposite of what happened. I saw a new side of myself that I never thought I could reach. I participated with confidence and pushed myself out of my constraining bubble. At some point that bubble needed to pop.

The other students on this field trip created this spirit within the room that allowed each and every one of us to get an equal opportunity to excel. Seeing the opportunities my peers received--especially those of us who are minorities--struck so much emotion within me. Hearing the way they all interacted with the companies we visited was more than motivational; I couldn’t just sit back. A lot of them became role models to me. Ms. Keri Quillin on this trip told me that I needed to be confident in what I do, and that people will listen to me and that really stuck with me. This was from another peer, another twenty-one-year-old and I couldn't have received this advice from anyone better.

Another reason why I had insecurities coming on this trip was that I felt so delayed in my career process. I am a graduating senior who’s never had an internship before, let alone an experience like this field trip. I felt as if I was lacking something compared to everyone else. But I saw myself in a better light after this trip. There’s no problem with taking time to figure out what you want to do, and the journey is going to be the best part. We all go through trials and tribulations within our careers.

Another big theme emphasized on this trip was that your journey is never linear. Life itself is not static, the world is constantly changing. And WE are constantly changing. Trying new things should not be looked down upon. We all experience this in different ways and it’s never going to be the same for every person.

The people, the companies, and other organizations made me realize I need to take care of myself, especially within the workplace. My space is just as deserved as everyone else's, and I shouldn't feel the need to dumb myself down or stand in the back. I’m not lacking, I’m worthy of these experiences in life. The NMGZ Community conveyed a message to all of us that we should take pride in our journeys and the different steps it takes to get there. The reassurance given to us was well-needed.

I am more than grateful for all the wisdom I received on this trip. They shifted my perspectives on myself. We need to block out those voices in our heads that tell us we are deserving. This trip allowed me to dig deeper into who I am, what it means to exert myself, and what the future holds for me.


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