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Growing My Career with Agilities, My Network, and Perseverance

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Blog by Annalia Escalante, Intern at The DeBruce Foundation

A little over a year ago, I had just graduated high school and was preparing for the next steps in my career journey. At the time, I was contributing to The DeBruce Foundation’s mission to expand career pathways as a member of the DeBruce Career Corps.

Now, I am excited to say that I have the privilege to continue my experience with The DeBruce Foundation as a paid intern! Career Corps has had a tremendous impact on my personal, professional, and academic journey, so it fills me with joy to be a part of the team and contribute to that impact.

Starting College at The University of Kansas

A lot in my life has changed since a year ago. I started my first year of college at The University of Kansas and have enjoyed it beyond what I could have imagined. On campus, I have been involved in the Multicultural Business Scholarship Program, Hispanic Business Student Association, and the Latin American Student Union as a Student Senator. After a period of indecisiveness, I finally found the right major for me. I have chosen to major in Finance and minor in Public Policy. After taking the Agile Work Profiler© to see what my top Agilities© were, I knew I wanted to choose a career where I could use the skills I am good at and enjoy the most: Developing Others, Managing, and Serving and Caring.

Navigating Challenges as a First-Generation College Student

Although the majority of my college experience thus far has been pleasant, there have been some minor bumps along the road. A majority of these challenges have been surrounding my experience as a first-generation college student. Through the process of selecting schools, applying to them, finding scholarships and ways to pay for college, etc., I realized that this was all new and I did not have the guidance from parental figures that I noticed many of my peers had. I used tools in the Graduation Toolkit such as the Resume Builder to craft and refine my resume so that I was able to apply for and receive many scholarships to pay for college. The Income Estimator also helped me narrow down career choices so that I knew what aligned with the lifestyle that I wanted to live.

Overcoming Impostor Syndrome

Another challenge that I have had to tackle, along with many other first-generation students is Impostor Syndrome. The Oxford English Dictionary defines Imposter Syndrome as “the persistent inability to believe that one’s success is deserved or has been achieved as a result of one’s efforts or skills”. I know, it’s kind of dark. The main obstacles I encountered were navigating the feeling of not feeling represented or like I belonged on campus, unexpected anxiety doing minute tasks or in large groups of people different than me, and sometimes feelings of guilt for being away from my family. Since I had spent years prior developing my professional confidence through organizations like The DeBruce Foundation’s Career Corps, 20/20 Leadership, and more, the effects of imposter syndrome did not set me as far behind in my journey. I have been able to use that confidence to build my network and find mentors who help me navigate each step of the journey and remind me that there is no such thing as a “dumb question”. As I look forward, these experiences make me feel empowered and keep me determined to continue chasing my dreams and making an impact on the world around me.

Looking Ahead to My Future

I have experienced a significant amount of personal growth over the past year thanks to the abundance of resources provided from organizations such as The DeBruce Foundation and resources like the Graduation Toolkit. I am equipped to achieve success and career growth in any direction I choose. Although there will always be road bumps along the way, I have learned to lean on my network and people who are willing to support me. This summer, I am excited to dive deep behind the scenes of the world of finance and non-profit operations with The DeBruce Foundation. I am excited about the opportunity to research and create resources in the realm of financial literacy during my internship. None of this would be possible without God, perseverance, and use of the tools given to me!

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