The constant feeling of imposter syndrome you feel as a first-generation college student cannot be understated. When you look around a room and see so many people with these long resumes filled with accomplishment after accomplishment, you can feel a certain dread. And then fear and maybe a little bit of shame. Shame because you don’t feel as accomplished as others, fear that you won’t come across as smart as the person sitting next to you, and dread that you just simply won’t be able to ask the right questions that make someone remember you.
STOP. FEELING. THAT. WAY.
Wherever you are, at this exact moment, you are meant to be there. Whatever event/interview/internship/presentation you find yourself at in the near future, you were meant to be there. Stop discounting yourself because you did not have access to the same resources as others. Because, while it is difficult to be in that position, there is something about you that made someone say you deserved to be there. Just because your resume does not look as distinguished as the person sitting next to you doesn’t mean the person who is reviewing them thinks it is better than yours.
The deciding factor in me getting the internship I am in was the fact that I was a summer camp counselor. Not that I had the highest GPA, not that I had a ton of research under my belt, not the connections I had. It was literally the summer I spent taking care of 12+ middle school girls in the hot Texas sun.
For as long as I could remember, I was told I was crazy for wanting to pursue my bachelor’s degree. When I got into college, I was told I was crazy for pursuing the path I was. But as I’m sitting here in Washington D.C., interning on Capitol Hill, with my bachelor’s degree under my belt, I’m proving everyone who called me crazy or stupid wrong.
First Gens, stop discounting yourself because you can do it too.
Office of Congressman Filemon Vela
Washington, D.C. | Summer 2021