Senior Farewell: Kemi Giwa

by Kemi Giwa, Opinion Editor

Looking back on these last four years, the one thing I regret the most is not believing in myself enough. It’s easy to feel like you don’t belong –– especially when you choose a major where more than 90% of the students look nothing like you.

I’ve spent the last four years doubting myself and believing I wasn’t deserving of the opportunities I  received. I got my first job in political communications at the California State Assembly, and I spent the first half of the internship feeling like a fraud. Why me? Why did they pick me over plenty of well qualified, intelligent students? Then, I got a communications internship at the mayor’s office and felt the exact same way, but even ten times worse. I mean, I was writing speeches for the mayor of one of the largest cities in the country.

Since then, it’s been a never-ending cycle of self-doubt and low confidence. But, the thing is, in each instance, I overperformed. Did better than I expected, and improved in so many more ways than one.

Overcoming imposter syndrome isn’t an easy task, and to be quite honest, I don’t think I’ve fully overcome it just yet. This time next month I’ll be halfway across the country all by myself, starting my first, official big girl job, and for a while, it took me some time to realize that I deserve this. I didn’t think I’d be good enough.

But what I’m slowly realizing is: every single opportunity I’ve gotten is because I’ve worked hard for it. It’s that simple. It’s taken me a long time to believe this, but I’m slowly getting there. I implore all of you, especially my young black women and women of color, to remember not to give up on yourselves. You got that job, that internship or that scholarship because you are the best one.

The truth is, you’re destined for great things, but you have to believe that.

It wouldn’t be right to end this off without giving a huge shoutout to the organization that made me. Four years ago, I made one of the best decisions of my college career by stumbling into The Daily Aztec office. Besides meeting life-long friends, who are also some of the greatest, most talented people I’ve ever met in my life,  I also learned so much about myself. I learned that having a big mouth and being opinionated is actually worth something.

But more importantly, as opinion editor, I’ve learned that one of my many true callings is providing a space for marginalized communities and giving them a platform to be vulnerable and share their experiences out loud. And no matter what happens, I’m committed to doing this for the rest of my life.