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  • Melissa Figueroa

My Golden Year

2018 WAS MY FUCKING YEAR.

I can’t even begin to explain how blessed I was throughout this entire year. In January, I purchased my very first brand new car and celebrated my 23rd birthday. A few months later, I left a job that I absolutely HATED and moved on to something better that surpassed my expectations. I landed a City job as a receptionist. I know what you’re thinking. You may wonder, “what is so special about getting a receptionist job?” Well, it’s not necessarily this job in particular, but more so what this job led me to. You see, after working as a server for a few years, and coming to the end of my undergraduate journey, it occurred to me that I needed to gain some office experience. And SOON.

Toward the end of March, I went in for my interview not knowing what to expect. I was completely caught off guard by the entirety of it. I walked out of there feeling unprepared and so defeated; like there was no way in hell that I’d ever get the job. My interviewers on the other hand felt differently. It didn’t take long for me to receive a call with the exciting news that I got the job. I remembered how I walked out of that interview and cried in my car before driving home, but it turns out that there were two people who saw more potential in me than I saw in myself. That April I landed the job, and I was ecstatic.

On May 19, 2018, I finally walked that stage and graduated from college. I received my B.A. in English Literature with a minor in Communications, and I became the first in my immediate family to receive a college degree. All my hard work had finally paid off and I felt so damn proud of myself. But I wasn’t done just yet.

Less than a month later I got accepted into the English Literature Master’s Program that I had applied for. I was happier than my words could even fathom. The girl who once questioned what the hell she was doing in school when she couldn’t pick a career path, was now on her way to graduate school. I didn’t apply to grad school because I needed to. I did not need a Master’s degree for my current job, nor any job I planned on applying for in the future. I did it for nobody but myself. I was so proud of what I had done by getting my B.A. that I wanted to keep going. Not because I love school because I don’t. I actually can’t stand it. But I wanted to challenge myself. I wanted to see what else I could do, what else I was capable of. Though I don’t need a Master’s degree for anything I’m aspiring to do in particular, I know that it can only help me in the long run. And even if I don’t ever need it for anything specific, I know that I can always look back with the satisfaction that I did that all by myself, for myself.

In July, I was offered another job in a different department and got to step outside of my comfort zone. I had an excellent boss who I still keep in touch with, became friends with great coworkers, and had the pleasure of meeting some very bright high school students who became our summer youth workers.

At the beginning of December, however, I was offered a slightly higher paying job back in my previous department. I couldn’t believe how blessed I had been to receive such great opportunities in such a short amount of time. In less than nine months I moved my way up twice to new jobs and new experiences. The girl who walked out of that interview room back in March with her head down that didn’t believe in herself, was now working her way up to better opportunities.

In no way, shape, or form am I bringing this to your attention for bragging rights, because it's not like I’m bragging about some sort of CEO position or management position or anything of super high pay. I’m telling you about this because I want to voice how important it is to not only believe in yourself but also to break your own conventions. Places of comfort do not lead to growth, plain and simple. In order to flourish, one must first make themselves uncomfortable. It is the only way we will learn. I know that the unknown is a scary place, trust me. There’s lots of uncertainty and we feel more inclined to stick to the things that we are familiar with because it’s the safest route; but this mindset will simply keep us stagnant.

I myself still struggle with fear from time to time, I won’t lie. But deep down I know that I am fully capable of achieving anything that I desire. I may occasionally psych myself out when it comes to change, but I know my potential and I know that in the end I will always be okay. The mind is an intricate thing, and oftentimes it can play tricks on us to make us feel as though we are inadequate. But you see, it is all psychological. Once you conquer the negative thoughts, you have the power to cultivate your mind. The world is full of mediocrities, don’t let your life be one of them. Reach for more, challenge yourself, apply yourself, and always aspire to be the best damn version of yourself that you can possibly be. I am on a lifelong journey to become fearless someday, and I hope that you will all embark on the same journey.

With ceaseless love,

Meli


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