How to Motivate Yourself

Girl writing

Written by Kristy Brewster

Trying to find motivation is kind of like trying to find buried treasure– it’s a little difficult. Actually, it’s VERY difficult. At least for me, anyway. I’ve always had trouble with motivation—probably because I’m a little lazy by nature. So, if motivation is something you struggle with, too, here’s a little information that I learned from one of my psychology professors at the University of Texas-Austin.

Replace “should” with “could.”
The word “should” saps motivation because it takes away your autonomy. Autonomy is what you have when you hold the ability to make your own decisions. The word “could” maximizes autonomy and, thus, increases motivation. Saying “I could study” instead of “I should study” makes it more likely that you will end up studying because you are making that decision for yourself and for what you believe to be in your best interest. Try to keep “shoulds” for moral imperatives. For example, “I should not kill someone.” Yes, you probably should not do that.

Have goals that are meaningful to you.
Invest yourself in your goals. Let’s say that you still have some studying to do for an upcoming exam. If learning is more important to you than making an A, reframe your goal so that it reflects this. Remind yourself that you are studying because you want to learn as much as you can from your class.

Keep your eyes on the prize.
What’s the prize? Do you want to become a doctor? Do you want to write novels for a living? Remember what you want and always keep it in the back of your mind. This will help get you through the most mundane of tasks.

Think about what YOU want.
Choose your own goals and toss everybody else’s ideas out of the window. You’re not going to be very motivated if you’re working towards someone else’s dream for you. Are you majoring in engineering because that’s what you want or because that’s what your parents want? Remember, no “shoulds.” Instead of thinking I “should” have a more realistic job, ask yourself:What would I do if I “could” do anything?

Have days where you schedule nothing.
Burnout is real. It’s totally okay to have a lazy day every now and then. Whether it’s once a week or once a month, having a day where you have no responsibilities allows you to recharge and go into your next work day with more motivation.

There you go! Hopefully you find these tips helpful—they’ve definitely helped me. See if they work for you and then let me know what you think in the comments. Good luck!

Female Led Blogs Worth Checking Out

latina girl on computer

The beauty of the internet is that it serves as a platform to give everyone who has access to it a voice. While there is many negativity throughout the internet, here are a few Latina/Female run-blogs that need more exposure.

Feminist Culture (feministculture.com)

Feminist Culture was started by teen feminist Alexis Moncada in March 2015. The blog accepts contributions from everyone who submits an article. The writers post articles, book suggestions, videos, and other media sources discussing every feminist issue as Moncada’s goal is to make the site as inclusive as possible through intersectional feminism.

LatinxForChange (latinxs4change.blogspot.com/)

This blog is a small time blog with contributing writers from all around. The blog addresses all kinds of issues concerning Latinxs such as racism, culture politics, and change. This is a very new blog and it is worth the read. One of my school friends occasionally submits her own articles and poetry to the blog.

Natalie Sylverster (nataliasylvester.com/blog/)

Sylvester is a more of a personal blog. Sylvester shares her experiences as a fiction writer and freelance journalist. This blog is definitely for the bookworks. Sylvester released her first book Chasing the Sun back in June 2014. Definitely check out this blog if you’re in for a laugh.

Dulce Candy (dulcecandy.com/)

Dulce Candy is a fashion and beauty blog created by Latina YouTube vlogger Dulce Tejada. Tejada posts daily her Outfit of the Day along with helpful information about where she bought her outfits and such. Even if you’re not into fashion and beauty, the blog is very aesthetically pleasing.

 

DIY – Emoji Jar

PicsArt

written by Ana-Paola Perez

This Jar is perfect for a gift to give a friend,or even for yourself! All you need is a small jar, yellow paint, sharpies (color depends on the emoji you want to make), a paint brush, and a stencil of the emoji you’d like to make.

  1. You can start by adding paint to the inside of the jar. You can either move the paint inside by simply moving and rotating the paint. You can also just use a paint brush to speed up the process.
  2. Then, use a stencil to make the face. To make the stencil just print or trace the emoji and cut out the eyes, mouth and accessories.
  3. Tape the stencil to the jar and begin coloring inside the stencil with the sharpies.
  4. When the stencil is removed you can clean the edges by lining it.
  5.  When the yellow paint is dry you can put anything inside like pencils, pens, scissors, make up brushes, money or change, or even flowers for decor. It’s super easy and fun to make.

What to Expect When Starting College

College: the next big step you will remember for the rest of your life. It’s different, exciting, stressful, but also beautiful. It’s where you will start learning about yourself and the world. You will discover people that are like you, experience things you never thought you would, but will also more than likely be scared during the process. Don’t worry, chica, I got you. These are the three top things I wish someone would have told me when I started college.

Peer Pressure
Movies, social media, memes, and shows portray the average college life to be full of drinking and partying, but that isn’t always the case. Yes, you will be asked to go out, and you should once in a while, but never feel like you have to. Never feel that to be accepted you need to drink and be this crazy party animal. There are many college students, including me, who prefer to stay in on a Saturday night to watch a movie while enjoying the company of friends. You will be surprised to know that the older you get, the more you prefer to have little gatherings with friends than to be this super-wild-let’s-go-out-all-the-time person. Don’t believe what movies portray. College isn’t about partying.

Classes and Social Life
When I started college I thought it was great that I only had a class twice a week. I told myself I would make straight A’s, study a couple of hours, and then head out to Chipotle with my girls. Yeah, keeping up with classes was ridiculous. College classes are completely different from high school, especially when you’re a freshman. Most of your classes will have 50 or more people, your professor might not ever know your name, and they don’t remind you when something is due. Because of these new classes and the new environment, it’s easy for freshman to lose track of time. Academic probation happens more frequently than you think. Don’t worry though; it’s not the end of world and it’s simple to fix. In order to avoid academic probation, first and foremost: stay on top of your classes! Go to class, do your homework, study, and use a planner. This planner will be your holy grail. Start by writing down the important due dates from the syllabus and calendar in your planner. Also, study groups, tutoring, and just seeing your professor during their office hours can come a long way. Your college wants to help you succeed, so take advantage of your resources. From professors to taking advantage of programs/resources, they will help you learn how to balance school work, work, and your social life.

Homesickness
In the beginning everyone is super excited to go out on his/her own and become their own person without mom or dad being in the way. Slowly, but surely, you will start to realize that you’re tired of dorm food, doing laundry on your own and even miss hearing your mom call your name from across the house. You guessed it: you’re homesick! I felt this drastically when I moved five hours away from home. I missed my mom’s home cooking, my annoying little siblings, and just the smell of my old home. This is totally normal! You’re not alone because everyone experiences this when they’re away from home for the first time. To help get over your homesickness, join a club,or a couple clubs, make it a hobby to learn your mother’s recipes, get into a new hobby, or try fun workout groups at your school’s gym. There are even clubs catered to Latinas or a specific activity (video games, music, cooking, writing, hiking, dancing, etc.). Being involved in school will help you take your mind off of being homesick — plus, you’ll be able to make more friends and have more fun!

College is scary, yes, but once you’re there and get a feel of things, you’ll feel right at home. Though there will be stress and frustrations along the road, the college experience is one you will cherish and hold sacred for the rest of your life.

Maximizing Your Summer Staycation

Summer vacation as a college student is quite different from summer vacation in grade school. It suddenly becomes taboo to spend your summer days waking up late, watching cartoons, and just goofing around. In college, the generic “have a great summer” yearbook greeting gives way to a slightly different email signoff: “Have a productive summer.” Your classmates may be blowing up your social media with posts about their summer internships in a big city, or with photos of foreign countries where they are studying abroad. If you, instead, find yourself back in your hometown for the summer, don’t fret. You will still have plenty of time and opportunities to experience a new place and to go off on your own adventures. Until then, here are five ways for you to make the most of your summer staycation!

1.       Free Summer Events

 The warm weather offers a perfect opportunity for cities to put on a myriad of outdoor public events. The best part is, they’re usually free! (Or, at least very affordable.) Be on the lookout in your local newspaper for outdoor screenings, concerts, or farmer’s markets. “There are a ton of great activities to take advantage of,” says Brittany Ochoa, a junior at Texas A&M University, spending the summer in her hometown of El Paso, TX. “I’ve gone to a few movies in the park, and the Let Freedom Ring concert series is always a go-to weekend outing for me.” While food and drinks will cost extra, you can always bring your own snack and just go for the show.

2.       Explore Your City

           Cities and towns are not static. They are always growing and changing. If you spend most of your year away at school, then chances are that not everything stayed the same while you were gone. Exercise that newfound independence of yours to explore your city. Grab a friend and venture out. Try a restaurant in a neighborhood that you never go to. Investigate what goes on in that building that has always caught your eye, but that you have always wondered about. This is the place of your origin story, learn more about it, and you might learn something about yourself along the way.

3.       Personal Project

 We all have that secret little book of ideas, whether it’s written on actual paper, or just kept in the back of your mind. You go off to college in hopes of pursuing your passions, but you don’t always get the opportunity to actually spend time practicing them. School, work, friends are all important and all worthwhile things to devote your time, but they can also get in the way of reading that book that’s been sitting on your shelf, or playing out that melody that’s been in your head. You are approaching a chapter in your life that is void of any free time, let alone a whole season full of it. Turn your attention for the next few months to a personal project. It can be anything you want, as long as it fulfills you.

For Ochoa, that project includes “experimenting with watercolors and photography,” which she posts on her own blog. Amanda Chacon, also an El Paso native and a junior at University of Texas at San Antonio, expresses a similar sentiment, claiming that “being home and not having classes to attend has also freed up a lot of my time for recreational activities that I typically don’t have the chance to participate in throughout the semester. I’ve gone climbing a lot more while at home, and even went skydiving a few weeks ago!” You don’t have to be as daring as Amanda, but definitely don’t be afraid to try your hand at something new. This is the perfect time! 

4.       Bond with Family and Friends

It’s called a hometown for a reason. You could be anywhere else right now, but you are here because this is where your family is. This is likely the place where you grew up, where you went to school, where you met some of your closest friends. Going off to school wasn’t just an adjustment for you, it was also an adjustment for your family. Spending time with them, and with your old friends, means catching up on all the little stories that you missed while you were away and sharing the exciting new things that you have learned and experiences while you were at college. Just a fair warning: bonding with your fam could result in increased homesickness when you ship out again in the fall, but it’s totally worth reconnecting to your culture and to your support system. 

5.       Reset

 Like the exhausted laptop that you leave powered on every second of every day, sometimes you just need to reset. Now is your chance to take a breather between semesters. You know those eight-hour nights of sleep that you’re always hearing about? Now you can actually see what the big fuss is about. Without those ghastly 8 am classes or late-night study sessions, you can actually get a decent amount of sleep at night (so don’t sabotage yourself by watching Netflix until dawn.) It’s also okay to take a day every now and then to do nothing. Remember: taking care of yourself is just as important as taking care of business.

Career Spotlight: Mental Health Specialist

Lety GreeneCareer Spotlight

Name: Leticia Greene

Hometown: Veracruz,Mexico

Employer: US Army

Job Title: Mental Health Specialist

What are some of your job responsibilities?
I am primarily responsible for assisting with the management and treatment of inpatient mental health activities, and counsel clients/patients with personal, behavioral or psychological problems.

What is your educational background?
On the Civilian side I have B.A in Advertising and Design that I obtained from the Universidad Popular Autónoma del Estado de Puebla.

On the Military side I completed my Advanced Individual Training (AIT) at Fort Sam Houston,TX  in Mental Health Specialist, which is my Military Occupational Specialty 68X.

Describe your college experience and how it helped you prepare for your career:
My college experience was one of a kind. I studied in Puebla,Mexico, which was 3 hours away from home,Veracruz; therefore, I ended up moving to Puebla.

The reason why I chose a B.A in Advertising and Design is because my parents own a printing shop. I spent most of my childhood in that place. Actually, my mom told me that since I was 5 months she used to take me to her work. An interest in colors, texture, and design grew rapidly during my childhood. This led to informing my parents that I wanted to do something related to the business, photography and design. This career had it all, a combination of all my interests.

During the summer break of  2007, I had the opportunity to work at a Summer camp in upstate  New York. The fact that I was exposed to different people and cultures made me want to come back for more, and I did. After I graduated from college, I decided to go to New York as an Au Pair for a year, but I ended up staying for 4 years!

During those four years in New York, I studied English as a second language and Conversation and pronunciation courses at the Westchester Community College. When my level of English improved I decided to do something more challenging; for this reason, I did a couple of college courses in Multimedia Programming and Design at the Borough of Manhattan Community College. However, I wasn’t able to graduate because I chose to take advantage of the great opportunity to join the US Army.

My college experience wasn’t all in the classroom. College for me meant living on my own in a different city, different country, facing challenges on my own and mastering a second and a third language. The hardest part of college was being away from my family and friends, but the hard work and perseverance paid off.

How did you find your current job?
When I was in college in NY, a friend, whom had been recently recruited by the U.S. army and with knowledge of my Brazilian Portuguese skills, told me about theMilitary Accessions Vital for the National Interest (MAVNI) program in the US Army. MAVNI is a recruiting program that permits legal non-citizens who posses in-demand skills to join the Army in exchange for expedited U.S citizenship after graduating from ten weeks of Basic Combat Training or accepting a commission as Army Officers.

Luckily for me, a spot for Brazilian Portuguese was open. I took the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) and the The ACTFL, The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages,Oral Proficiency Interview, or OPI. The OPI is a live, 20-30 minute telephone conversation between a certified ACTFL tester and the candidate. I nailed both of them, I was admitted, and I decided that 68X Mental Health Specialist  was the best option for me.

What did you do to prepare for this career?
I trained in Fort Sam Houston as part of  Advanced Individual Training (AIT) in the US Army. The training consisted of 3 months of classes and physical training and 1 month of clinicals where you are assigned by groups to practice your skills and knowledge at a local hospital.

What do you like the most about your job?
Helping those with invisible wounds and the satisfaction of seeing patients overcoming problems that have interfered in their lives.

What is the most challenging part of your job?
Being a Mental Health Specialist is a very mentally-emotionally charged career, where you’ll have to put yourself someone else’s shoes. No matter what, patient care is first; you have to give a 100% every day. You also have to be very attentive because you never know the outcome of a wrong sign with body language, and how the lack of undivided attention to someone can be terminal.

What advice would you give to help a girl prepare for a job like yours?
This job is excellent for someone who really enjoys helping  others; someone who has a commitment to find different and creative approaches to help someone who needs to be listened or is having a hard time to communicate his/her needs. A job where you have to remain both compassionate and professional at the same time. However, it is also extremely rewarding when you realize that you actually help someone who probably was on the wrong route.

What do you do for fun when you aren’t working?
When I’m not working I spend time with my new family in El Paso, my husband and my husky. I am a strong believer of dedicating quality time to those who you love and care about you. I love enjoy photography, baking, going to the movies, volunteering and working out.  I’m still working on making friends in El Paso area; it is not easy to make friends when you have different activities going on, but it is important to have a strong primary support group to rely on wherever you are.

Teens Give Advice on Bullying

Teens from our Latinitas – El Paso’s Teen Academy answer hot topic questions on bullying.

“My friend was being bullied because she was too dark. I didn’t know what to do since the boys didn’t really care when people confronted them. What do I do in this type of situation when the boys don’t listen?”

First, tell an adult. If the bullying is happening at school, tell a teacher. If it is happening in your neighborhood, tell a parent or guardian. Know that you are not being a tattle-tale by doing this; you are looking out for your friend. An adult will be able to stop the bullying if they see it happen. They can also speak to the bullies about why bullying is wrong and potentially get the bullies to stop bullying altogether. Second, let your friend know that you will be there for them if they need advice or just someone to talk to.

“One time I was pushed for no reason. They just wanted to bully me.”

Tell your mom. Your mom can speak to the parents of the kids that pushed you and is also a great resource to help you handle this type of situation. Also, tell yourself that you will be OK. You could even watch a Kid Present pep talk video on YouTube. Realize that this doesn’t have to get you down. Your attitude is everything. People only have the power to upset you if you let them. Lastly, don’t talk to the bullies. Sometimes silence is the best comeback you have. Being silent doesn’t mean that you’re not standing up for yourself, it tells yourself and the bullies that you are not going to stoop to their level.

 

“How can I get through bullying?”

Bullying is tough. Adults, teachers, and talk shows advise you to ignore the problem, but I know that it’s much much easier said than done. The good thing about bullying is that it’s based completely on falsehood. Anything that someone says to you that makes you feel inferior in any way is simply false. If bullying gets really bad or gets physical in any way, then definitely go to a parent or teacher for help. They have authority over your bullies and are in a better position to help you. But no matter how bad your case is, and no matter if you’ve already sought help, you still need to look yourself in the mirror and list all of your amazing traits. Pretend that you are in court, like a lawyer arguing against all the awful things your bully says about you. I’m positive the Judge would rule in your favor. Also, remember that bullies truly never do or say anything mean to you because they hate you. They do it because they hate themselves, and want to make everyone else feel small so that they will feel big. I promise you that it’s no lie. You’re awesome, remember that.

I recommend talking to an adult or a teacher. I know it’s hard to do that so if you need to take it slow, tell a friend. When you tell a friend they will probably support you and encourage your to tell an adult. Your friend can also defend you if they bullying is during school.

If you let them know that their words don’t hurt, then they wonder why bother? Be confident!

Book Review: In the Country We Love

Photo credit: inthecountrywelove.com

Photo credit: inthecountrywelove.com

In her recently released book called “In the Country We Love,” actress Diane Guerrero shares her story, full of despair, injustices, and frustration over her family’s efforts to become citizens. It is the story of struggle among a family of undocumented immigrants.

This name will pop into your mind as one of the actresses on the Latino series: “Jane the Virgin” where she plays the role of Lina, who is the best friend of the protagonist Jane Villanueva (Gina Rodriguez). You may also know her from the hit Netflix series “Orange is the New Black.” Aside from being an amazing actress, Diane Guerrero is also a successful author. She recently released a book telling her story as a Latina living in the US. Although this Latina was born in the United States, she comes from a long dynasty of Colombianos. Her parents decided to pursue the American Dream  by traveling to New Jersey, where Diane was born. Later on, her family moved to Boston.

“In the Country We Love” details her childhood and family dynamics. Her family, which includes her father, mother, and older brother, were born outside of the U.S. Diane is the only member with a U.S., which has led to her witnessing the deportation of different family members. Both of her parents were deported when she was 14. Resilience, willingness and the caring of other Colombian families was left for Diane to carry along with her new life in the states.

Her story emphasizes the struggle lived by thousands of immigrants once their families are broken up and separated because of deportation. The fear and desperation of a family to obtain U.S. citizenship and stop hiding between 1990 – 2013 is lived by 17.4 million of immigrants from Latin America countries, according to a study from the United Nations.

Living with low paying jobs, help from a few other families, and exposure to the abuse of power were some of the several obstacles encountered by Diane and her family before their deportation. After this tragic event, Diane gained courage to thrive. She stayed focused on what she wanted her life to be like in the land that did not care about her wellbeing once her family got deported. “In the Country of Love” is not a sob story, but a story of resilience. Of the realities families without U.S. citizenship encounter on a daily basis. Her story, and her family’s story, is one of strength. Diane Guerrero truly honors her family and her last name. She is a brave guerrera who has managed to survive in an environment of loneliness, lack of opportunities and discrimination. “In the Country of Love” is a must-read!

Sightseeing: Ciudad Juárez

Ciudad Juárez, Mexico is a huge city. Historically, it is the place where the adelitas were born, where the invention of the burrito was made and the place in which Margaritas were first drunk. For many of the habitants of this city, it is the home of great talents recognized as important celebrities such as Juan Gabriel, Tin Tan and even the great Ramon from El Chavo. But does it really have places for tourists? We present you some of the attractions of this beautiful city, full of hidden stories and vitality of its people.

GASTRONOMY
One of the main attractions of Juárez is the richness of its platillos. The place where the first burrito was made couldn’t be left without recognition. We have a couple of places for you to go in case you are visiting Juárez and want to taste the magnificence of its culture. The first place is called Burritos Crisostomo. This burrito market is one of the most renown among the citizens of Juárez for its delicious guisados and its quick service for customers. There’s also Burritos Ximichú, which is known for its gigantic burritos and its famous food contests among the Juarenses. These burritos have almost the same guisados as Crisostomo, but their taste can be identified for its uniqueness.

Juarez also has Flautas La Pila, which is well known for its urban environment at the center of the city. This Flautas place has quite a fame that even Juarenses say you haven’t been in Juarez if you haven’t eaten at this place.

If you are craving tacos, Tacos Ajiji has the best tacos. These tacos are the most famous among Juarenses because of their pure taste. Plus, the restaurant has an enjoyable environment! If you are driving a car, be aware that you will have difficulty finding a parking place. The place is always a reventar. By looking at the delicious piña or buche at Ajiji, it’s no a wonder why many people enjoy tacos from Ajiji.

CULTURE AND HISTORY
History in Ciudad Juarez is quite rich because of the important personalities that have stepped on this land. The city is named after Benito Juárez, one of the most recognized presidents of Mexico. This land was his refugee throughout the war of Reforma. Legend says the battle was quite a triumph, and during the battle it was necessary for Benito to stay in Juárez for his own sake; without the support of the city, he wouldn’t have succeeded during the war and we would probably still be under the domains of the church.

There’s so much history in Juarez, but there are a couple of landmarks that you have to visit, like the Casa de Adobe. This house is where Francisco I Madero became Provisional president during the Revolutionary War of Mexico. It is an important point of reference to the region itself and to the country for being the home of the intellectual who wanted to take away power from the dictator Porfirio Diaz. Known as “Rancho de las Flores” back then, the Casa de Adobe is a landmark where the whole maderista camp was settled and reunions were made. Now, it is a free admission museum decorated with all kinds of artifacts. Tourists can come to the museum and appreciate the place that once was the home of such important people to the Mexican Revolution.

Casa de Adobe is indeed a historical place, but let me tell you that this isn’t the only place where history is manifested. If you are a reader and you love to spend time reading a good book, we recommend that you go to the biggest library in Chihuahua: Biblioteca Central Carlos Montemayor at Universidad Autonoma de Ciudad Juárez (UACJ). It is a public library which consists of more than 3,000 books and even more in its online catalog.

Another fun place to visit is La Rodadora. This one of a kind museum has been recognized as one of the most important and dynamic museums of all Latin America, chicas! It is intended for kids to learn by playing and interacting with the environment by listening and acquiring a first sensory experience!

SPORTS AND OUTDOOR AREAS
If museums aren’t your thing, there are wonderful sports and outdoor areas to enjoy, like the Stadium Benito Juárez. A good thing about Stadium Benito Juarez, besides being a place for football,soccer and athletics development, is that it is next to Parque Borunda. This place is known for its amazing jueguitos,which is the small version of a fair in Juarez. It also has carritos chocones in case you feel like driving and crashing into your friends. It is also known for its puestesitos of food and toys. Elotes, raspas and even chilindrinas are found at this small fair. It is a fun place to be if you want to hang out with your friends and eat something traditional from the city.

Another place to check out is the Central Park next to the Bachilleres gym. It is the biggest park in Ciudad Juarez and full of things to do! It has a main building where workshops from different activities are held, a library where you can find books with various topics (from university works to children stories) and art exhibitions from tarahumaras who have workshops about the customs of their culture. It is also the place for many events in Juarez, such as fairs, clown shows, and CONADE events (athletic organization), as well as government meetings. The peculiar thing about this park is that there are animals inside the park. They pass through every corner of the park at all time. Central Park has become their habitat, girls. These animals include ducks, gooses and even colored peacocks.

Juárez has a vibrant culture and atmosphere. From exquisite Mexican food to historically rich places, Juarez is an amazing city.

Latina Beat: Proud of My Culture

Butterfly logoItzel and Bianca share why they’re proud to Latinas:

“I’m always proud to show off my Hispanic pride. I have a white complexion, so people don’t think that I am hispanic — even though I’m 100% Latina. We have a very beautiful culture, full of bright vivid colors and amazing food. Growing up in a U.S.-Mexico border community, I never saw prejudice or racism towards our race/culture until I left my hometown to attend college. It was a shocking experience as I saw some of my friends get treated differently just because they looked more Hispanic than I do. I’ve had people complain to me about Hispanics without realizing that they’re complaining about Hispanics to a Hispanic. It’s hard to believe that these types of acts still occur and are very relevant in the world today. However, I don’t believe in focusing on the negative but focusing on the positive and all the amazing things hispanics are doing in their communities. We are making a name for ourselves and demanding that our voice be heard. There will always be prejudice unfortunately but we must never let that affect the pride that we have within our culture and race.” – Bianca Duran, 20
“I was born and raised in a place where two different cultures meet: La frontera. La Frontera, the zone where the United States and Mexico come face to face with each other. This is where I’ve spent all of my life and where I’ve been privileged enough to be part of these two distinct cultures that, here at the border, turn into a unique one. With both Mexican and American traditions and with both the English and Spanish language, this mixed and unique culture has given me the best of both worlds. Which is why I see myself as being both a Mexican and an American. I am very proud of belonging to a group of people who share both cultures at the same time.

Being part of both worlds has given me the opportunity of being bilingual; Of mixing languages and being able to communicate in English with certain people and Spanish. It has giving me the opportunity of feeling proud about my ancestors who fought hard to build a beautiful nation like Miguel Hidalgo, or Pancho Villa. As well as being proud of those who crossed over and fought for our rights here in this country, like Dolores Huerta. It also gives me the opportunity to celebrate 4th of July in the summer and months later for 16 de Septiembre! I love being able to practice Mexican traditions, like Día de los Muertos, and then to practice American ones as well.

Not only am I proud of having a Mexican identity, but mostly of having a Mexican American identity and of being from la frontera. My culture here, at the border, has influenced me into feeling like I belong to this special little world; where both cultures mix to form one, and where I truly get the best of both worlds.” – Itzel Ibarra, 24