When people (especially our parents) talk about going to college, we tend to hear the idea of “finding yourself,” as if “yourself” is some buried book hidden in the depths of your college’s old library. You’ll have to read all of the other books available if you want a chance of finding this book—which will reveal everything you need to know about your passions, I suppose. I feel the notion of “finding yourself” pretty self-restraining.
I have encountered much more success and liberation in losing myself.
As a kid, I dreamt about becoming a fashion designer and traveling the world. I wouldn’t miss an episode of Project Runway. I had Coco Chanel’s autobiography memorized. I could recognize Dior’s classics with a glance at sketches and photographs. But I lived in a small Mexican city and had no money, connections or awareness of the fashion industry. This dream didn’t work out.
Years passed and I learned about the struggles my parents faced as Mexicans living in a border city and the complexity of the legal process for immigrants in the U.S. An interest in immigration law sparked in me and I made a 360-degree turn for my future plans.
I moved to San Diego for my first two years of college where I embarked on a heroine’s journey to find out if I would take on law as my new dream, because—let’s be real—I wasn’t planning to drop 100k on something I wasn’t truly passionate about. During my second year at Mesa College, I worked at an immigration law firm where I sat for long hours drowning under stacks of paperwork. Was this really it? Had I made the wrong decision for not attending a Fashion Institute?
That dream didn’t work out either.
I decided to transfer to UCLA. Let’s make this clear: the L. A. lifestyle is no joke. It really is like the metropolitan picture that the media sells to us. When I compare it to Mexico, Texas and San Diego, everything moves at a faster pace (except for the freeways), nobody gives a f–k about you and people live lavishly.
Moving here has challenged me in ways I did not think possible. I became a resident of the capital city of art, creativity and freelance. I fell victim to the L.A. bug and decided to pursue a career that involves everything that I love, which includes writing, traveling and fashion. I decided to settle on pursuing a career in journalism.
In my other homes, I lost my dreams. In LA, I lost myself in a coastal city of nepotism and an ocean of feelings that crashed onto me like waves, to the point of drowning underneath my fears. I learned that it’s better to throw caution to the wind when these worries occur and lose myself in the process. During this three-year college journey, I have found myself by being lost for most of the time… and who knows? I might want to become an aerospace engineer if none of this works out.