"Who am I?": A discourse on my identity

by Jordan Young

Transparent post: Read on if you would like to, but I would like to give a small spiel real quick. This post is in no way me trying to brag or demonstrate something, but more of a post of me showing my transformation throughout my first year of college as well as this summer. And more than anything else this is a post of self-love.

I am dedicated. I am hard-working. I continue to strive. I accomplish a lot. I am intellectual. I am loving. I am caring. I am great in every way possible.

I am low-income. And I am a first-generation college student.

These are identities that the stark classism that exists within the systematic oppression that we live in wants to erase. To this society these are identities that should be shamed. To this society these are identities that hold people who should "pull themselves up by their boot straps". This is a society that supports that idea that meritocracy and hard-work are all it takes for people to succeed. But how can someone pull themselves up by their boot-straps if they're not even wearing shows in the first place...?

I'm tired of giving in to a society and listening to people trying to demean the identity I hold and the values I hold. I'm tired of people trying to "justify" my accomplishments. I'm tired of sitting back and acting like I'm okay whenever I'm at a university where classism rules almost all of on campus social settings. I'm tired of feeling tired I'm tired.

This summer I have been through much more than I ever thought would be possible for myself. I have accomplished so much that many from my same community do not get to. And not because they can't... but because no one allowed them to open that door. No one gave them the boots. I'm lucky. I'm proud. But I also feel guilty. This identity holds so many feelings and intersections that I can't even understand sometimes.

Through STARS I realized that the STEM field (one where women, POCs, low-income students, and most other minorities) are not represented and are not allowed to strive in due to the elite controlling the resources that we could be using, is a field in which I can and will strive. Because I have done it once in a situation completely unfamiliar to me, I know that I can and I WILL continue to strive and thrive in this field.

Through LEDA I realized how much self-doubt I allowed myself to feel due to simple things like Imposter Syndrome, which marks itself as a syndrome in which the person feels as though their accomplishments are not valid and are mistakes. I realized that my accomplishments have been no mistake. If they were, I wouldn't have been able to thrive as much as I have been. I realized I'm tired of letting people "justify" my existence in these spaces and I'm tired of hiding who I am from people. I will be unapologetically myself. When people try to tear me down, I will simply smile. And here's why:

Because I am dedicated. Because I am hard-working. Because I continue to strive. Because I accomplish a lot. Because I am intellectual. Because I am loving. Because I am caring. Because I am great in every way possible.

Because I am low-income. And Because I am a first-generation college student.

I don't succeed DESPITE being this identity. I succeed BECAUSE I chose to defy what society says about this identity and know my true value.

Originally posted on Facebook.

Jose LopezComment