February 6th, 2008. It was my fifteenth birthday, one of the most important moments in the life of any Latina girl. “You’ve got the universe in your hands, look for who are and what you’ll be,” Mom wrote to me in a card. “There is a strong woman within that little girl’s soul.”
I didn’t understand her words to me that day. Yet, looking back at the glittery card taped to my wall I can almost hear her voice pushing me to look for more, to just go a little farther. I never thought I would make it this far; however, without realizing it my mom’s voice was always in the back of my head pushing me to take one more step, to walk just that extra mile and to go beyond my own expectations. When the days of “It’s too much!” and “I can’t handle this anymore” come around, I sit back on my bed and look at the old birthday card. I remember the woman who taught me to push through the pain, to have faith in the world and to be myself. And I realize what a true example of magis she was.
I’m a simple 20 year-old college student who came into her freshman year thinking, “Just go to class and head back to my dorm and I’ll get through.” But soon I realized that to make a difference I have to seek for more than the refuge of four walls. That to be more is to be me, to have no fears, to try new things, to appreciate others and the everyday blessings in my life. And to learn that a simple smile can change someone else’s life.