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Believe in yourself, immigrant and refugee students

M'Munga Songolo

Believe in yourself.

This may seem like a simple, self-explanatory, and easy thing for me to say, yet to believe in yourself is a complex issue that many humans, especially refugees and immigrants, face.

We have already come from more than a human can even imagine in one lifetime, so why should we limit ourselves to weak, feeble dreams? 

We need to dream of dreams outside our comfort zone. Dreams that expand us, make us work harder than we ever have before. Many people here (in America) already doubt us due to our circumstances. They don’t feel like we are up to the pressure of being here. Let alone being successful here. 

So we have to prove them wrong, and the first way to do that is to believe in yourself as you go through school. 

One tip that I believe can help you be successful in school is sitting in the front of class, if possible. This helps you because it keeps you attentive and on your best behavior. Not only can the students see what you are doing up in the front, but also the teacher can. 

Another tip is to ask questions. This is one that I struggle to do every now and then, but it is in your best interest. If you don’t understand something, ask – seriously! If you’re too afraid to do so in front of the entire class, jot down your question and a note to ask after class. If it is during passing periods, arrange a time for you and the teacher to have a one-on-one. 

And after school, socialize, yet not too frequently. Some conversations that people have with you may be useless, uninformative, and disrespectful. Make sure you seem like a person who is really on top of their stuff, someone who is respectable. 

Outside of school, I advise you to go to your local library or school library and get work done. 

It’s never too early to start working on a lengthy project.

In fact, you should start on it the day it is assigned. I’d advise you stay for a good hour or two working on homework and other materials you need to finish. Also, make sure to look over your work once or twice to understand what you just have done and see if you need to improve. 

At the end of the day, take some time for reflection and to remind yourself to believe in yourself.

Look back on your day and what you have done and what you could’ve done.  Did you believe in yourself?

Make sure that you write down your goals: 3 for the day, 3 for the week and 3 for the month. I got this technique from my older brother Felix. The 3 goals should be – one spiritual, one academic, and one personal. For example, the spiritual aspect for me would be something like, pray in the morning and night. For my academics, it would probably finish and review my homework before 10 pm. Then, for the personal one, I probably would say, get a 45-minute weight training session in.

So, in case you go a little off course during the day, look back at what your goals were. Believe in yourself and know you are focused on bigger and better things. Thank you for reading my article. I am trying to implement this more and more into my daily routine and hopefully you can as well!

Opinions expressed and advice given in USAHello’s Voices and Hello blogs are the writers’ own. USAHello offers impartial information and online courses to help newcomers in the USA.