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Where do I come from?

Life is made of thousands of paths and of thousands of choices. Everytime that you take a new direction, that you chose, a new network of paths is created. Sometimes you look back and you ask to yourself: “What if I had chosen another direction? What would have happened? How would I be now?” Our choices impact our future. If I had taken different decisions, I would have probably never come to Mexico. This is this reflection that leads me to this article: where do I come from and what led me to Mexico?

Basically, my coming to Mexico is due to two main factors:

1 - My business school in France had a partnership with a business school in Mexico (and it was mandatory in my Master to do at least one semester abroad)

2 - Going to Mexico has always been the dream of my grandmother but she got sick and finally never got the opportunity to go (as a matter of fact, I arrived in Mexico only one month after her death)

But why a business school? I can tell you that nothing predestinated me to study business. I was not born in a family which pushes you to do a “grande école” as we call them in France (business schools, Sciences Po, ENS, ENA…). I was not born in an environment where ambitions are encouraged. Since I was 16, I was not leaving with my parents anymore. My mother was living in Pacific Asia and my father was in the North of France. I had leaved the Parisian area to live with my grandmother in the region of Champagne-Ardennes. No matter the reasons which led me there: it simply happened and I had to deal with new circumstances that I had not fully chosen. And probably because I come from a family of civil servants (militaries, teachers) I finally studied a Bachelor of Science in Nursing after a brief passage in preparatory classes of Literature.

As far as I can remember those young years, I was confused about myself and I didn’t know what I really wanted to do. I still don’t know! I always wanted to do everything, to study everything, which is obviously impossible. Comes a particular time where you have to make a choice and that is something terribly hard for me. I always think about the “what if”: what if I take this direction more than another one? There are so many “what if” that it paralyzes me.

I had been advised to go to preparatory classes of Literature by my teachers and under influence of my mother. But I realized then that it was not corresponding to me. I tried to study art, versus the opinion of everybody, but I was without talent. And then I was simply hurried to start to work and I needed to do a “fast track” degree. As I wanted to take care of people I graduated as a Nurse.

But the reality of the profession was not fitting with my values. The working conditions were not letting me do my job as I am supposed to do, by taking time with patients and their families for instance. As I wanted to work with children and/or teenagers I applied in different places in the Parisian area, and I finally got the great opportunity to work as Deputy Director of Nursery with kids between 2 months ½ and 3 years old for two years. It has been a really good time. I was earning good money, I was having a nice small apartment in a Parisian area that I love, I was independent. But I was not feeling complete. I wanted more.

At this time, I have been for years attracted by fashion and textile industry. Actually, I had even thought interrupting my nursing studies to follow this path but I simply materially couldn’t. But after having worked and saved money that was suddenly possible. I thus followed the application process to integrate the ESIV, a school of garment industries depending on the Chamber of Commerce, and I had been accepted.

I was expecting a lot from this new direction and I unfortunately had been strongly disappointed. I probably misunderstood the program of the school but I also think that this last one was not totally honest. I knew that I will have to acquire technical skills of clothing conception but I expected to also study business around fashion industry: it has not been the case. Moreover, the second year was supposed to be in what we call in France “alternance”. The student has a contract signed between three parties: the company and himself, but also the school. And his time is divided between the company and the school. It’s really great to put your knowledge on application and to experiment the reality of the field, but I unfortunately didn’t find any company as I didn’t have any previous experience in fashion. The school was promoting its network but despite all my efforts I hadn’t been helpt out to get a contract.

I then crucially needed to move forward. I had the sad and frustrating feeling to have lost one year and especially to have lost my money. How would I rebound? I had two options: or going back to the nursery (after all, I had been proposed a position of director) or keep studying business in another school? This second option was full of uncertainties and risky. I had to manage the application process with the different exams, and my level of mathematics as well as English were pretty weak. I also needed money: business schools are not cheap…I started the process to enter in ESCP and you know what? I managed it. Thanks to the partnership of ESCP with different banks I got a student loan and I was launched. I heard from some people that I didn’t deserve my place there, that as the program had to be paid for, the selection process was not hard. Maybe…But what does it change? After all, I was there.

I finally arrived in a world where every student had already studied abroad before, where leaving your home country was usual and even a “must do”, where it was not a luxury but something totally accessible. I was glad to meet dynamic people who were eating the world, I was glad to be abroad for another purpose than tourism, but I was disconnected from the way of living of my fellows. I didn’t have the same social level as them: I would say that I am issued from the middle class when they were more upper middle class or upper class. We didn’t have the same type of academical background: I haven’t studied noble fields such as engineering, finance, international affairs or political sciences. And to the contrary of them, my future perspectives were more limited: most of them were planning to do their final internship abroad again and most of them were brilliant. The topics where I was good were minors: marketing, human resources, ethics and corporate social responsibility…

I went back to Paris for my second semester but…I finally returned to Mexico, almost one year ago. Love…I am married now with a Mexican but I am not accomplishing me professionally. I am turning 29 and I struggle to find a job. My efforts to reconvert me, to see further, to grow, seem had been useless. It’s as if my modest background was still my visit card. No matter that I have a double Master in International Business from a French Business School and from one of the best universities of Latin America. No matter that I fought for that. No matter that I have now a tremendous loan to refund. No matter my efforts. I am not from the clan and life is always reminding it to me.

With time, I have to admit that I started to lose my confidence and my energy. My motivations are decreasing a bit more everyday and I perpetually doubt about me. I am aware that finding a job in a country which is not yours is for sure more challenging and takes time. But it’s not a question of time anymore. I overcame all the administrative obstacles and I have now my working permit in Mexico. It’s just that it’s me.

I dream of evasion. But would it be better somewhere else? Would I have greater opportunities? I am not sure of anything anymore.

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