As a child of Southeast Asian immigrants to the United States, my parents told me many times growing up that they pursued a life in the U.S. because of the opportunity it would afford me and my siblings. The "work hard and you'll make it" mantra was very much a part of my upbringing, and to their great credit, my parents were able to pursue their goals of maintaining steady employment and buying a home of their own, providing a safe and comfortable home life for their family. As I transitioned into adulthood, I carried that belief with me, that hard work would allow me to overcome any challenges in my way. I still believe this to a degree, but I also recognize that I benefit from privileges that haven given me a greater chance at success, that the proverbial playing field isn't level at all. As an Asian American cis-gendered woman, with a proximity to whiteness by virtue of lighter skins and non-accented English, and paired with the implicit biases associated with the Model Minority myth, I haven't encountered the same kinds of challenges that many people in my predominantly LatinX community have, as they try to advance in terms of their academic and career goals. And yet the corollary to that is, for as hard as I've worked to get to where I am today -- having achieved academically and developed professionally -- there are those who have been explicit that I wouldn't be where I am were it not for "advantages" afforded to me, insinuating that because of "benefits" like financial aid affirmative action, I hadn't truly worked as hard as others, that I'm not as deserving. It's a weird space to navigate, knowing that I am privileged in many ways while also being told I don't deserve what I have, being reminded every day that I am a perpetual foreigner. And it seems that all of this stems from having achieved relative success in a system / society for whom success was not intended for someone who looks like me.