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The Weakness That Is Slowly Turning Into My Strength

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCLA chapter.

“Do you have any weaknesses and if so what are they?” 

That’s a question that is almost always asked during an interview. I’ve heard it a couple of times when interviewing for a position and my response is always the same: my weakness is communication. 

“But communication is important for any job, Maria!” I 100% agree! However, even though it’s one of my weaknesses I am slowly turning it into one of my strengths by continuing to work on this skill. 

I’ve always been known as a quiet girl. For almost all of my parent-teacher conferences the teachers would tell my mom, “She’s doing great, the only thing is she doesn’t talk and she needs to participate more.” It got to the point where my mom no longer felt like she needed to attend these conferences because she and I both knew what they would say: she’s too quiet. Every time I was asked what my dream career was I would say to be a news reporter. Most people would be surprised and let me know once again how in order to be a news reporter I needed to talk and not be shy. Rather than letting this get to me, I would brush it off and tell them I would make it happen somehow. After many more encounters like this, I got tired and decided to put a stop to this in my junior year of high school. I vowed to myself that I would be outgoing during my senior year and join clubs. 

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I applied to become a Peer Advocate and joined Hollywood High’s Crimson Chronicles. These two extracurricular activities helped me develop professionally and personally. As a Peer Advocate, I provided sexual health resources to my community. The goal was to help out anyone who needed certain resources and let them know about their sexual rights, health and their options. Every week we were supposed to talk to at least four people about this and for the first few months, I was a nervous wreck. It made me uncomfortable to have to approach my peers about this topic but somehow that’s exactly what helped me! Talking about a topic that made me uncomfortable at first helped me become comfortable and open with others. Journalism class helped me get out of my comfort zone by giving me the opportunity to go out into the field to interview students. I specifically chose these activities because I knew they made me uncomfortable. They required me to talk to others and that’s exactly what I needed. But I didn’t stop there. I continued to put myself out there in ways I would’ve never done if it wasn’t for what my math teacher once said: “It doesn’t matter how smart you are, if you do not talk or participate in anything they will always choose the person who does over you.” 

Once I graduated high school I landed a job as a ride operator. Working at an amusement park has allowed me to meet many people from different places. I am constantly communicating with my team and guests. If there was no communication then the attraction wouldn’t run as properly. It was hard at first for me to talk to large crowds but with time I got better and more confident in myself. I proceeded to be a cashier at a retail store and then a cast member. It was rewarding every time I looked back on how I started in a job or program and then ended. It takes a lot of patience and determination but you can do it too as long as you put your mind to it!

I almost let the same thing happen once I got into UCLA, but this time, instead of shyness being the one to stop me, it was me being a commuter. I thought that because I was a commuter I couldn’t join clubs or programs. But it was during the pandemic that I realized I was holding myself back. I started Her Campus at UCLA and am about to also start writing for The Daily Bruin as well. I continue to work on myself and have noticed a change and so have others around me. Slowly the people who once saw me as a quiet girl are seeing me become a confident woman. It’s been a rocky journey but one I do not regret! I will continue on this path and make sure my dream career does come true.

It’s never too late to start a new chapter! I believe you are all capable of achieving what you want in life. Remember, change starts with you.

Maria Alfaro is a fourth year student at UCLA majoring in Sociology and minoring in Spanish. She joined HerCampus at UCLA in 2021 and ever since has been able to do what she enjoys; write and share her stories with everyone. Her love for journalism grows with each story she gets to write. She loves to meet new people and learn new things. In her free time you can find her exploring the city of LA, dancing, binge-watching, blogging or relaxing.