I wish I knew then, what I know now!

It is the end of the 2015 school year, and I often think about what I can say to my son that will help him really appreciate where he is at, and understand where he is going. The joyful part of life, being a student, is so brief. We, as grown-ups, all say “I wish I knew then, what I know now.”

So, let me share with you the four things I wish I knew then, that I know now!

1) I would focus less time on wanting boys to like me and approve of me instead cultivating my authentic voice, look, and actions. I would work on loving and approving of myself, and choose myself first every day. THERE IS NO PRINCE CHARMING, YOU ARE IT! IN ORDER TO BE CHOSEN, YOU MUST CHOOSE YOURSELF FIRST!

2) I would ask for help earlier about my pain. I would own it, embrace it, recover from it and use it to propel me – sooner! I would have gotten a therapist for free (since there are so many free programs) or a coach and cleansed my immigration traumas earlier. IN YOUR PAIN IS YOUR ANSWER!

3) I would have started the road to my financial empowerment and self-reliance even sooner. In this mobile, digital age; Amazon, E-Bay, Etsy, Uber, Airbnb, Square, Twitter, Facebook – would be my best friends. GO GET YOUR OWN CHIPS!

4) Education is very important. I didn’t finish school when I was young (kids of immigrants understand we have other priorities and responsibilities). However, I was able to go back to school in my 40’s in order to complete my BA, Masters, and Doctorate in Clinical Psychology. So, even when things do not get done earlier in life and/or we make mistakes, I now know, IT’S NEVER TOO LATE TO RIGHT THE WRONGS OF YOUR LIFE.

What are the lessons of other women I admire? What have they learned? The Adelante Movement brings you today the commencement speeches of the “who’s who” of our community. Please listen to the wisdom of legends and pass the torch of knowledge to your children.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s 2012 NYU Graduation Speech

Singer Songwriter Gloria Estefan’s 2010 University of Miami’s Graduation Speech Part 1 & Part 2

Activist Dolores Huerta’s 2009 UCLA Graduation Speech

Broadcast Journalist Soledad O’Brien’s 2012 University of Delaware’s Graduation Speech

Actress Rita Moreno’s 2015 NEIU’s Graduation Speech

Artist Judith Baca’s 2012 UCLA Graduation Speech