Imposter syndrome is real, especially for women and people of color. There’s always this sense of ‘Am I really smart enough to be here? What's going to happen when everyone realizes I don't know what I'm doing?’ But, it’s something you have to fight against. Obviously, you do the work, but you also have to own your space. Whenever I find myself with these doubts, I come back to Non Ministrari sed Ministrare; you’re doing yourself a disservice, and the communities you serve a disservice, to let imposter syndrome keep you down.

Embrace the uncomfortableness of leadership. In America, we talk about leaders as born leaders and glamorize that idea, but that isn’t always the case. Everyone can be a leader, and people lead in their own ways. Don't let fear of stepping up and being visible keep you from moving the needle forward.

As an adult, the happiest people I've met are the ones who really dug deep and thought about what was important to them. They pursued opportunities that really spoke to them, both professionally and personally. They created space to think about the future, not just in terms of what they wanted in a career or a family or in life, but in terms of what drives them, even though it may not have been the most linear path. My advice is: don’t waste your time doing things for the sake of appearance or because you think you ‘should’ be doing them. Take the time instead to think about what gives you life.

Wellesley taught me that my voice matters and was a place where I could explore what it means to be a leader. When I was a student, I was involved in efforts to expand Asian American Studies and was able to make real change on campus. That was my first experience with coalition building, community education, and grassroots advocacy. It stays with me today and has shaped a lot of what I decided to do after college.

Jennifer Chou ’08 is a reproductive justice attorney for ACLU of Northern California.