Being Five Again and Dreaming…

By: Shirley Ramirez

With each module, Fellows dig into readings, exercises, conversations, and reflections around a theme. November/December’s theme = Educational, Life and Career Pathways.


This past month’s module was actually very emotional for me. I grew up with a plan already in mind that I was going to have a typical nine to five job. I remember being in elementary school and knowing the grades I needed, where I wanted to go for undergrad, where I wanted to go for medical school, and what it was going to take to be a doctor. Or so I thought. Once my senior year of high school came around I didn’t know what was happening with my life. I left high school realizing that science was difficult. Once I was in community college it became obvious that the medical field was not for me. This past summer I was able to graduate from UC Riverside with a B.A. in Public Policy, but it’s not as simple as graduation providing you with all the answers. At times I can still feel as lost as I did in my senior year in high school.

Roland Ros de Navarro, leading one of this module’s sessions, guided us through an exercise that helped us separate out our passions, our talents, what the world needs and what activities we can make a living from, all to steer us towards defining our own ‘life purpose statements’. For a while all I could think about was that I enjoy being outside and love helping people. It was frustrating to know that it was too broad of a “life purpose”, especially when I grew up thinking that I knew exactly what I wanted.

As a result, I’ve taken the time this month to more fully explore what’s out there, and what my interests are besides enjoying being outside. Over time I’ve been able to narrow it down to a mission statement but I’m sure as time goes on it will be added onto and changed. During this process, we kept going back to look at our mission statement and  asking ourselves: “but why?” Even with asking that I’ve had a difficult time knowing. I’ve had to think back, ask people who know me, and search. I’ve had long conversations with friends and mentors trying to search for what my “life purpose” could be. For now it is: to be a listener, giving access and a platform to the voices often not heard of the Spanish speaking Latinos in low-income communities.

What that actually entails I’m not fully certain yet, but thankfully I’m getting the training and time to dream what that will look like. I hope that it can involve my love of being outside. Typically a question I like to ask adults is: “How did you discover what you were ‘meant to do’?” Through asking, I’ve seen that even people in their 40’s still don’t know what they want to do. That means that I still have time.

Going from thinking that I knew my life purpose to barely having a clue of what I like was difficult. At the same time, however, this process has been kind of like an unexpected breeze, which comes out of nowhere and is unforeseen yet refreshing. Although I’m twenty-two, I get the chance to be five again and to dream about what I can do. I have the option to explore outside of typical nine to five jobs, to explore, take risks and learn.


Blog Post #3 // Learn more about Urban Futures Lab.