Dear First Gen,
April 9-15 is #NationalLibraryWeek! (Thank you Extra-Ordinary Birthdays for telling me.) I am an avid reader, and believe it is key for first-generation professionals seeking to increase their vocabulary, improve their writing skills and feel confident during conversations. Also, when I read different book genres and then share the stories with my family members, it exposes them to new phrases and words that they may use in their own work or social environments. Everyone benefits!
"I have always imagined paradise as a kind of library." - Jorge Luis Borges
The theme for the week is "Libraries Transform" and the suggested books by @lupita.reads certainly meets the challenge. This is her message to you!
Irnande recently asked me to list the top five books that I am looking forward to reading in 2017. First I need to add that the book world (authors and publishing companies) has been killing it lately with some amazing books. It seems to me that every year brings about a set of new books that must be added to bookshelves everywhere. Here is my small list that was no small feat to compile:
Dear First Gen,
One of my favorite hobbies is traveling. My brother and I have a friendly competition where if either one of us visits a place before the other, the other sibling works overtime to avoid traveling to that location. (My parents are not fans of our "explorer" spirit.)
I have met several first gens who do not own a passport or have used their passport to only travel to their family's birth country. Yes, it was shocking for me to hear, too! Recently, I returned from a trip and enjoyed the culture, the food, beach and also learned how two languages were simultaneously taught in a classroom and reinforced at home.
For example, my friend and I were in the post office mailing postcards to our friends and family back home. My friend asked the postal worker how to say pen in their language and she responded. Another customer, older woman, joined the conversation and began singing a song that taught her certain words in both languages including the pen. Another customer overheard her and sang along and then the postal worker chimed in and sang along, too. The young postal worker confirmed a decades-old classroom instruction still being taught and had not been forgotten by the two older women.
A fellow first gen has written the guest post below:
As a first-generation law student, I was surprised that so many of my classmates were children of attorneys. Many of them had worked at their parents’ law firms prior to starting law school and they had established connections. I, on the other hand, didn’t have the skills or a single connection to lean on when I entered law school. But I have found that a love for travel is a great way to connect with people.
There are so many reasons to study abroad. You will make friendships that last a lifetime, you will experience a new country as a local, and you will broaden your horizons more than you thought possible.
Your study abroad experience is also something that will enhance your ability to connect with people throughout your life. When you go on interviews or to networking events, many other professionals will have traveled extensively, and your study abroad experience will give you talking points and help you make connections with people who share your passion for traveling.
As excited as I was to study abroad in my second year of law school, I was even more excited to head to the “motherland.” My relatives left Italy in the 1920s, but their traditions remained strong and have influenced my life in many ways. Although I had been to Europe once before, I had never been to Italy.
Dear First Gen,
When we were growing up, my brother and I were reminded consistently that we were expected to perform extremely well in class. One of my friends told me a story of her upbringing that may be familiar to you. When she came home from school and showed her parents her good grades, they would ask, "Did another student receive a better grade than you?" If she said yes, the next question would be, "Why are you not at the top of the class?" My friend is brilliant and skillful! But in her parents eyes, being second, third, or fourth in a huge graduating class was just not “good enough.”
Immigrant parents often have very high expectations for their children, and as First Gens, we work overtime to meet or exceed them. But there is more to it than having the desire...there are situations that sometimes derail us. It is commonly unacceptable among foreigners to acknowledge feelings of guilt, insecurity, and doubt; rather it is expected that you will overcome them and never discuss the difficulties you faced. I can attest that there is a positive side to being raised to always find solutions to each "surface" problem, but what about the inner problems?
Tell me: How have you coped with your emotions when feeling depressed or pressured?
Dear First Gen,
People often talk about their organization skills when they're on job interviews. But this becomes important well before that pivotal first opportunity for income. Because of that, we’ll be discussing organization in two parts. Part 1 will detail the reasons and methods for staying organized, and Part 2 will detail some of the tools and products you can use to do so.
The motto at my college was “Educating Women to Transform the World.” Really?! Me?! Tall order for someone starting out at a new place, and I certainly wanted to meet that challenge and move mountains.