There is a quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson that says, “Life is a journey, not a destination.” Success and happiness are just that. Success is not a goal, not a concrete idea, and not something that is achieved overnight. Instead, it is a journey that life takes us on. It is a journey that we sometimes forget to look back on and appreciate, because we are too focused on defining it. The Latino community has been running towards success since the day our parents and grandparents stepped foot on the land of the free – the United States of America.
Lesson #1: nothing worth having is ever easily obtained.
We have all grown up in a new generation where everything has been handed to us, and to be honest, some of us feel entitled. That’s why this is Rule #1. Mi gente, we must remember to Work. Work. Work. If you want it, you have to fight for it. If it is something worth fighting for then you’ll put in every ounce of energy needed to make sure that you achieve it.
You will never appreciate anything if it is handed to you. As Latinos, this should resonate most in us because we have seen our parents wake up every morning to go to work, just to make sure that we could have everything that they once didn’t. If anything, we owe it to them. We owe it to our parents to work twice as hard as they did, to make sure that everything they ever wished for us becomes a reality and not just a possibility.
Lesson #2: let go of your fear of change.
I am very predictable, I live a routine lifestyle, and my ideal life would consist of having everyday organized into a planner. I like to know exactly what I am doing days ahead of time. Let’s just say that whoever invented the word spontaneous sure did not have ME in mind. As the stereotypical Leo that I am, I absolutely hate change.
There is something about the unknown that petrifies me. But I have to admit, that for as much as I loathe change, it is the one constant that has always kept me going. Six years ago, I left Dominican Republic to attend college in Florida. Fast forward to 2012, and I have packed up and changed my life once again.
I have learned that change is scary, but change is good. Fear it. Embrace it. Aspire towards it. For change is the one constant in our lives. So maybe, just maybe, I don’t fear change after all.
Lesson #3: it won’t be perfect, but it’ll be worth it.
I will enjoy my journey, for it is what makes life worth living. So if you ask me if I am successful, my answer is yes. I am successful because I have seized every opportunity that has been placed in front of me and taken it. I am successful because success cannot be measured. I am successful because I believe that through everything I have accomplished, there is still so much more for me to complete. And I am successful, because as a Latina in America, I wake up every morning believing whole-heartedly in the power of the American Dream.
Audrey Lopez is a recent graduate from the University of Tampa and a sister of Sigma Lambda Gamma National Sorority, Inc. She graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Criminology and minored in both Law & Justice and Government & World Affairs. Audrey was a practicing probation officer in Hillsborough County, Fl and has recently moved to the Washington D.C. area to pursue a career in Journalism & New Social Media.