Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Being An Inspiration

I attended the NACCS conference about a month back, and was placed in an awkward situation. After my presentation, a girl approached me and said she wanted to meet me because she felt inspired. Don't get me wrong, I don't think she was inspired by my presentation itself, it's not like her and the rest of the audience were left in awe by my verbo. As I understood it, she was inspired by the fact that I was a fellow Xicano from the same area where she grew up. That area being the Salinas Valley. The fact that I was from the same geographical space, and that I was up there reciting scholarship impacted her, because if you know our area, you don't find too many of us finishing our higher education, and you see much less of us in graduate school attending conferences, let alone presenting at them. Of course I don't have any statistics to offer, this is just me thinking about what possibly went through her mind.

I've never been one to take compliments well. As I said, I feel awkward when I'm complimented and I don't know how to respond. I thanked her, and told her I guess I don't really see myself that way, but I'm glad that she found some inspiration in the presentation. And I truly am happy that she found some inspiration in the presentation, and really at the conference, because it made me reflect on my own experiences. I've never really had anyone from my barrio to look up to, not really pursuing the same thing(s) I'm pursuing, so I felt like a lone wolf many a times. I didn't have a mentor in or from my hometown I could shoot an e-mail to or give a call, to talk about my stresses or any other things that he/she could relate to me about. I always had people pushing me, from my family, school faculty to the people from the neighborhood and beyond. In that sense I am lucky, but I wish I could have offered that girl more. I regret not giving her my at least my e-mail address so that if she ever needed that mentor or moral support from someone who's been there and done that, she could count on me. I could have possibly been that mentor to her that I didn't have, but I'm hoping that as she said, sometimes knowing or seeing someone from your space who "made it" or is trying to "make it" just like her, is enough to keep the flame lit.


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