How I Grew Through my Junior Year of College

Spring semester and the end of my third year of college can be summed up by a quote by Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu, “Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” Last semester brought a lot of growth. I’m proud of not only being courageous enough to distance myself from people I once loved, but also learning to show myself love by identifying with my actions instead of events that have happened to me. Don’t get me wrong, spring semester was traumatizing like the others and I don’t quite know how to feel about it yet, but I’m insanely proud of the ways in which I’ve picked myself up from mental and emotional spirals- and for this blog, I’d like to focus on that. 

In reflecting on the spring semester, it seems like everything and nothing was happening simultaneously. Not only was I the happiest and healthiest I’ve ever been mentally, but I also experienced really low points. Going through my educational journey as an independent student has always meant being self-sufficient and being alone most of the time. However, I can admit that I was not prepared to experience life the way I have this past year. I felt inadequate to handle my academic responsibilities while working two jobs, but that doesn’t mean I’m not proud of myself for handling a full plate during a pandemic. Of course, I’m proud. Freshman year me would’ve never believed I came this far. And it’s been liberating to figure out that, regardless of the situations I put myself in, I’ll ultimately be alright.

These past few months have shown me how much of myself I pour into things. And while I’m exhausted, I’m immensely proud of the work I’ve put out. I’ve gotten great opportunities and healed in a lot of ways. By focusing on myself, I managed to finish junior year with better grades than I went into the year with. I’ve also reconstructed my confidence enough to apply and secure research fellowships- shoutout to the Marco Antonio Firebaugh Scholars Program at UC Berkeley for creating research and mentorship opportunities for students like myself (undocumented, dacamented, AB540, system impacted,etc). I’ve managed to work, both as an administrative assistant for Meals on Wheels and as a College Advisor for the East Bay Consortium, all while attending school. 

I’m excited and nervous as I step into my final year because part of me still feels inadequate sometimes. For now, I’ll chalk it up to being anxious and trying to overcome impostor syndrome. When I talk about impostor syndrome, I’m referring to internally feeling like you’re not as capable as others think you are. Impostor syndrome is a really strange feeling. One day I’m completely fine and the next I feel unworthy or selfish for living the life that I’m living. Because of imposter syndrome, I understand now that maybe I’ll never truly feel ready for my next steps, but I just have to do it and wait to see the outcome. 

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Yendy Rebollo

Yendy Rebollo

Yendy Rebollo is an independent, low-income, first-generation, undocumented or rather DACA-mented, woman of color navigating higher education at the University of California Berkeley. She has been an independent student since her senior year of high school, when she ran away from her abusive parents. It is in that same year, Yendy became a published writer with Yendy is currently double majoring in Ethnic Studies and Comparative Literature with a Minor in Education. She strives to attend law school as soon as she is finished with her Bachelor’s degree.

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