I’ve always been surrounded by a host of resilient people who modeled confidence. My grandmother ensured that my identity was a core value of my life. She often shared memories of her grandmother, born into slavery, or her father, a sharecropper, or her own challenges climbing out of southern poverty to self-determination. That deep, rich personal history propels me forward every day. My mother is the hardest-working woman I know, who overcame immense obstacles growing from a struggling young mother to a businesswoman with multiple degrees.
I have no shortage of personal examples of perseverance. In spite of those examples, like many people, I struggle with a lingering self-doubt that questions my abilities. The feelings aren’t debilitating, nor do they outweigh my confidence. But, they are there.
In my elementary school years, my mother drove me to my grandmother’s house every morning so that I could attend the presumptively “better” schools in that neighborhood. As I became more conscious of social inequities, I questioned why I could not have gone to the schools where I lived. Upon reflection, I remember a subtle and incomprehensible sense of disconnect with both the school community and my friends. I never had a Black teacher until I was in college. It was clear that most adults in the school held low expectations for me. In fact, when I was in 12th grade, my high school guidance counselor told my mother that I would be “lucky to get through community college.”
It’s incredible to me that, despite my culturally rich family and values-centered home, my self-confidence was hammered down by people who clearly showed little interest in my success. For years, I let other people determine my self-worth. There is no doubt that our self-image is painted by the people around us. However, when possible, we must be critical about the people we allow to be artists in our lives.
I learned to manage my self-doubt and eventually landed here at Boston College Law School. But those feelings have not magically disappeared. They lurk every day and at times attempt to crest my exuded confidence. Whether you are a prospective student questioning whether you are “good enough” for Boston College or any other law school, or you are a current student wondering if the admissions office made a mistake with your application, I encourage you straighten up and paint your own image. Don’t let people who have no genuine interest in your success dictate your feeling of self-worth.
Claim your place here at Boston College and act like you belong. Because you do.
Travis Salters is a first-year student and brand new Impact blogger. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.