My name is Chelsea Carmona and I have been working as the Regional Management Intern for The OpEd Project in San Diego under Barbara Field. Having registered months in advance, I drove down to UCSD for the “Write to Change the World” seminar with the highest of expectations.
Initially, we introduced ourselves. Sitting in the corner, I shrunk into my chair- clearly intimidated by the success and confidence of the women surrounding me. Everything I had once considered a personal accomplishment suddenly escaped me. As my turn approached, the other women, including Zeba Kahn (our Seminar Leader), urged me. Even if perpetual unemployment had become an acceptable area of expertise for some, it was not for me. As a junior as UCSD, I had conducted a comparative study on incarceration rates and prison demographics in the United States and the Netherlands. Iwas currently working with the City of Irvine’s Prevention Coalition to develop and implement a media literacy curriculum in K-12. Yes I was unemployed, but I could
be a substantial resource for many people in the room.
Following the seminar, we packed up and headed to PF Chang’s for a dinner/cocktail hour. As “America’s Next Great Pundit” runner-up Zeba Kahn approached me, I tried to envision her in my position. However difficult, she was not nearly as intimidating as I had originally envisioned, and I really appreciated all of her personalized training efforts. She explained how her career progressed following her participation in the 2009 seminar, which, coincidentally, was exactly what I needed to hear to better comprehend my position in the seminar, my life, and my dream.
The seminar was my Christmas gift from my parents, and they were thrilled to hear that I truly embraced the experience. I believe I have left the seminar with a few vital pieces of personal information in addition to the professional benefits of an Op-Ed. Perhaps most importantly, I discovered that I may not be the only ambitious woman who falls off course for a little bit.
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