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Mentors are underrated. We hear about the need to find them, but the effort needed to seek one out becomes too heavy to put into action. I’m glad I put it into action. Thinking back to my undergraduate days, I wonder if I would be where I am mentally and professionally if it weren’t for the inspirational women whom have taken me under their wings. In the spirit of giving thanks, I want to give thanks to the amazing women whom have helped me thrive.
In the stage of still finding my voice, you encouraged me to experiment. When all my classmates couldn’t found my experimentation “distracting” and “non-traditional,” you’d defend me, and tell me to keep moving forward. Without you, I wonder if I would’ve continued with poetry; or maybe I would’ve let the words of my classmates ring a little too loudly in my ears and turn me away from putting my voice and stories out there.
I’ll never forget being in your intro course, and thinking to myself, “Damn, this is going to be tough.” But I didn’t drop. I needed your tough grading; I needed your critical insight to my writing, your guide to what is and isn’t good research writing. You helped shape not only my research interests, but you even predicted that I would want to study Latinx literature. At the time, I was already maxed out on majors and minors so taking on Chicanx Studies seemed like adding on too much. Nevertheless, I took my first class with you and my last class—the perfect full circle—and each time, you challenged me in the best of ways.
I came to you in a panicked state: I was certain I was about to loose my opportunity to study at LMU. You shared wiht me your struggles and reminded me that these things are only temporary. Since then, you’ve always been there for the highs, lows, and the chisme. I don’t even know how many times you’ve gotten me back on track, and I could never repay you for all that you’ve done for me. All I can say is,
When I first saw you teach the First to Go Scholars, I thought to myself: this is someone I aspire to be like. It started off as admiration of your teaching ability—how you were able to navigate tricky situations where two students of opposite opinion were able to have constructive conversation—but it became inspiration for my path towards becoming an educator. You let me become your TA, given me editorial opportunities, and helped me see that even our pop culture interests can help serve first generation college students (Harry Potter as a guide for first gen pedagogy would not have crossed my mind if it weren’t for our conversations.) I truly believe that I have a strong teaching foundation from observing and learning from you.
Who would’ve thought an AmeriCorps activity would’ve lead me to you, Mujer? When I first moved to San Francisco, I often thought of how I should move back; or what it would’ve been like if I would’ve chosen Cal State Long Beach instead of San Francisco State. But then, I wouldn’t have had the chance to observe you as a professor; to work as your TA for two semesters; and receive advice on my poetry. On top of all the professional development you’ve provided me, your energy is infectious and inspiring. Mujer, you’ve helped make the Bay home.
Is there a mentor you want to give thanks to? Let us know!