Being a teenager is difficult for everyone, whether you're a cheerleader or a social outcast. But the unique cultural pressures put upon a Latina teen makes life even more challenging. You struggle to establish an identity that somehow melds your strong connection to being Hispanic with your desire to fit in as an American teenager. Caught between the conservative values of your parents and the freewheeling ways of contemporary society often leaves you feeling misunderstood, and battling to be heard over the clash of opposing cultures.
Being Hispanic, you are part of a legacy of independent capable women who have endured years of hardship. Giving birth to an intelligent modern Latina like you is just one of your mother's accomplishments. For generations, Latinas have uprooted themselves, seeking work in foreign cities, adapting to new customs, and taking life-changing risks. What it takes to reach your goals is part of being Hispanic; call on that courage and strength to create the life you want for yourself.
There's an old expression that says, Educate a man and you will educate his sons. Educate a woman and you will educate generations. You have the power to do precisely that. Colleges all over the country are trying harder to recruit Latinas. More money and scholarships are available than ever before. TRIO programs in high school give those who just want school over with, a chance to get excited about going to college.
The same diplomatic skills you use to balance being Hispanic with American culture and responsibilities of family and school will prove invaluable in the rest of your life. In the real world, those skills are called diplomacy, tact, and discretion. Because you grew up with parents who made enormous sacrifices so you could have a better life, honor them by taking advantage of the opportunities that lie before you. Surround yourself with positive people who are proud of being Hispanic, who see your potential and expect you to live up to it, people who are going places and doing things. Minimize the time spent with those who are negative. Do not allow anger, fear, or sadness to rule your behavior when you are with them. Know while you can't change them, you can change the way you react to them.
Being Hispanic, you are a part of an exploding generation of bilingual, bicultural women whose influence will affect music, television, movies, fashion, advertising, slang, and just about everything else in American culture. Remember that education, the most effective way of getting you to where you want to go in life, is a mix of experience, persistence, and trial and error. Make a commitment to learn more, read more, ask more.
Then whether your goals are a college degree, starting a business, doing community work, or raising a family, you will thrive and be the success your hard work has earned you!