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Latinas Share Their Post-Grad Gems: Empowering Advice for the Class of 2024!

By: Wandy Felicita Ortiz

Hey, Class of 2024! Ready to rock post-grad life with confidence? Get set for some amazing advice from Latina grads who’ve totally been in your shoes! Keep reading to learn from their experiences and elevate your journey!

May is here, which means that Latinas around the country are preparing to celebrate the momentous occasion of graduating from college! Whether you’re the first in your family to do it or come from a long line of degree holders, allow us at Brilla Latina to be among the first to say ¡FELICITACIONES! Your achievement is one for the books: only 20% of Latinas obtain university degrees, and less than 10% receive Master’s or PhD degrees.

While you’re one of the few now, you’re paving the way for even more of us to join your ranks—just by showing up, being yourself, and building up the community of Latina academics that so many of us didn’t have or wished they had growing up.

Becoming a college grad is exciting: commencement events, parties, and family traditions. At the same time, it can also be confusing as you work to determine your next step—an internship, a fellowship, a job, maybe more school? 

Regardless of your path, know it’s okay if you don’t have all the answers right now. The truth about adulthood is that nobody ever has the answers anyway. We’re all on the journey of figuring out la vida in real time.

As you embark on this next stage of adulthood, here are some words of wisdom from mujeres who have walked in your shoes:

“You will have people doubting you the whole time—for being a woman, for being Latina, no matter what. Show up as your most authentic self because, at the end of the day, that’s who you have to live with, so always do work you’re proud of. Stick to your values, and stay grounded.”

Rebecca Carvalho
Iona University, Class of 2014, Broadcast Journalism Major, Jersey City, New Jersey

“You have the strength and heart to overcome anything. There are many people that will look down on you, not take you seriously, judge you, view you as less than and think you’re underqualified. Know your worth and value and prove them wrong with your head held up high.”

Rebecca Dimino
University of Maryland, Class of 2002, Business and Education Major, Queens, NY

“Your voice is your greatest asset. Ask questions, add your input, be the first to share. This builds so much confidence not just in yourself but with those around you as well. It can be uncomfortable for those on the more introverted side but even the smallest instances of using your voice can be a power move.”

Melinda Jo Acunca
St. John’s University, Class of 2021, Advertising and Communications Major, Queens, NY

“Seek and do what interests you. If you end up not liking it, move on. Time goes by so fast and this part of the journey is crucial in finding what makes us whole with minimal distractions.”

Jenny Reyes
Rowan University, Class of 2004, Biology Major, Northern New Jersey

“Ask for what you want and need. Latinas have this image of being self-sacrificing, thus are expected to take less, to be happy just to be there. Don’t let the company you work for or the school you attend next make you their poster child. Everyone else is making sure their needs are met, it’s your job to make sure yours are too.”

Mandie Nuanes
First-year PhD student, UCLA, Latin American Historian, Los Angeles, CA

“You’ll never be 100% sure of who you want to be, what you want to do, where you see yourself in 10 years…. but if you can get to 80%, run …and then pivot!”

Dr. Kimberly Reyes-Giordano
Binghamton University, Class of 2002, Biopsychology Major, Brooklyn, NY

Amigas, as you enter the world as graduates, know that you have a whole community of women behind you cheering you on and ready to offer you their experience, expertise, and advice! Stay true to yourself and follow your heart—a woman’s intuition is never wrong!

¡Pa’ lante, ladies!

About the author: Wandy Felicita Ortiz

Cathy-Nuestro-Stories-Writer-Image-200x275

I am a trilingual writer and content analyst with a passion for creating and sharing engaging stories across platforms and audiences. I have over ten years of experience as a freelance digital media content creator and copyeditor, working with clients and outlets such as Fortune Magazine, Oprah Magazine, Penguin Random House, Reader's Digest, Button Poetry Publishing, and Grammy-nominated artist Mike Posner. I have also contributed to various online publications, including Fierce by Mítu, Huffington Post, Refinery29 and Yahoo, covering topics such as culture, education, entertainment, politics, science and socioeconomics.

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