USC Weekend - Find Your Passion

Spending the weekend at USC for the Sol Price School of Public Policy Public Service Conference was beyond inspirational. The weekend consisted of several keynote speakers, panels, and a case study that really opened up my eyes to the world of public service. I have always had a strong passion for serving others and serving my local communities. Whenever I told someone I wanted to go into the public service sector their responses were, "Good for you!" "You know they don't make a lot of money right?" They acted like they understood but deep down I knew they didn't. Today, society tells us that success is measured by the amount of money you make and the nice things you are able to buy. The way I will measure my success is by the amount of lives I am able to impact in a positive way. I do have to admit that it was sometimes discouraging to hear the various responses I would get from people but it never changed my focus. I have found what I am truly passionate about and I will continue to foster that passion of mine for my entire life.

With that being said, being at this conference and learning about public policy, graduate school, and potential public service careers was so inspiring. I got to hear from a variety of professionals who are currently working in the public service sector. They are all working in the public service sector for one reason, to help others and make a change. They aren't doing it because of the money, because of their titles, or because of anything else but the sole reason of making a positive impact in today's society. It became clear to me that I am making the right decision. I would also say that the conference was very refreshing. At the conference, I got to meet about 25 other students from different colleges, cultures, and states but the one thing we all had in common was once again; serving others. I had never been in an environment like that where we all understood each other so well. About 90% of us were people of color who had to work extremely hard to get to a 4-year college and as much as we were alike we were all so different in our struggles.

As a first generation Latina college student graduate school was always a must for me but attending a prestigious school like USC did not seem all that feasible. Financially and grade wise I never thought it would be possible but after meeting USC alumni of the Masters School of Public Policy and seeing how they too were first generation college students and people of color, it proved to me that I am more than capable. Something that was brought up continuously throughout the conference was the Imposter Syndrome. The Imposter Syndrome is defined as a concept describing high achieving individuals who are marked by an inability to internalize their accomplishments and a persistent fear of not being good enough. This is exactly what I was doing when I assumed I would never be able to attend a school like USC for my Masters. As people of color it is sometimes hard to imagine ourselves in such prestigious places but we are just as capable if not, more capable then being and succeeding in such a space.

I left the conference feeling more inspired than ever to continue pursuing my dreams. After obtaining my Bachelors I hope to obtain a Master’s in Public Administration. Ultimately, I hope to serve on my local government city council and eventually be mayor. After that, I hope to become an assemblymember. I want to be in a position where I can serve a community that has given me so much. I urge you all to find what you are truly passionate about and pursue it with everything you have. Regardless of the color of your skin or the struggles you have gone through; you are more than capable!

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