Although she wears several different hats on campus, sophomore Amanda Dominguez wants to be remembered as not just a job title but rather as a human first and foremost.
If you’ve ever listened to “The Man” by Taylor Swift, then you would know why it makes sense that it’s Amanda Dominguez’s favorite song. It’s a song about hard work, diligence and overcoming obstacles in all areas of life.
Dominguez, a sophomore at APU, has always found ways to be involved. Trust me, I know. We went to the same high school and now the same college together.
But just by being her roommate this past year, I’ve learned several new things about her; she doesn’t like avocados, loves a good Trader Joe’s ice cream sandwich, adores her friends and also puts her whole heart into everything she agrees to be a part of.
Now, the last part might seem like a great quality, however it comes with its downfalls — something Dominguez didn’t recognize until this year.
By putting her whole heart and mind into everything she committed to this year, she lost a little bit of the most important role she wears: the role of simply being human.
I got the chance to sit down with my roommate (exactly ten feet apart on our beds) as I prompted her to reflect on this past year.
First, she listed the different roles that she took on this year, her most prominent one being the SGA controller. Additionally, she was the Honors College business operations coordinator, an Honors College mentor and vice president of the Pre-Law Society. She’s also double majoring in honors humanities and economics in pursuit of being an attorney one day.
But what matters more to her than all those different titles is that people remember the impact she had in each of those specific roles.
She tells me, “No matter what I do, I want to make sure that people know that Amanda was in that role, and that role didn’t make Amanda. I just wanna make sure that I never sacrifice myself for the sake of a position because I think that it’s really easy to get caught up in looking for accolades.”
She admits that, like the rest of us, she was guilty of the latter half.
Growing up, you’re taught that you have to be the best at everything you do — not only being the best version of yourself but constantly growing to get better. But it’s a tiresome process and one that isn’t always fulfilling. Dominguez faced this same issue within some of the roles that she held this past year.
“I think that that’s something that I’m learning as I’m growing up: that I am not defined by the positions that I acquire, not defined by the titles that I receive. And it’s really about what I take from the positions and what I take from communities that really define who I am. And I hope that through my time at APU I’ve become bolder, I’ve become more courageous, I’ve become more firm in my convictions and I never waiver from what I believe in. And that’s truly how I hope to be defined,” she adds.
So, next, let me set the scene. It’s SGA Elections Chapel. You’re tired from a long week of homework and no sleep. You’ve watched a video and a speech and an introduction and another speech. You’re checking the clock… and then, Dominguez walks onto the stage with a bright-pink power suit on.
You’re awake and listening, she’s joking with the audience and you’re laughing. Boom, she did it. She achieved exactly what she came on stage to do: make you feel better.
Her dream is “to be defined as somebody who’s very bold and courageous.” She adds, “I think that I try to embody that in the leadership positions that I have because I think that no matter where I go, I want to leave a mark. And I hope that that is translated by the way that I act, the way that I speak … I never ever want to sacrifice individuality in the roles that I come into.”
Sometimes, it’s easy to give up that idea of individuality when you fall victim to the day-to-day routine of school and work. It leaves you with very little time to think for yourself because you are so caught up in trying to fulfill the duties and responsibilities asked of you as a student, employee, leader and more.
Dominguez, however, couldn’t help but wonder if there is a bigger purpose for her life than just spreadsheets and business meetings. Like all other Honors College students, she started to ask the big questions.
“How can I fit so many molds and so many titles and so many roles when, at the end of the day, I’m just human. But then, how do I be a good human? Like, what does it look like to be a human in community,” asked Dominguez. “I think I really struggled with that because am I doing right by my humanity? Am I truly utilizing my gifts for the good? Does a correct calling and purpose exist for a lifetime? Does it exist for a time period?”
She credited the Honors College curriculum for planting these questions in her head, but I think a lot of us often wonder the same things. And, frankly, most of us have no idea what the answers are.
But, at the end of the day and in whatever role we might hold while asking these questions, we are reminded of our humanness. This is what Dominguez concluded: no matter what, being human is more than enough to suffice.
“We’re trying to figure out what our calling is, what our career is, what our vocation is, and to settle with being human doesn’t make any sense at this age … But there’s peace in just settling for human because that is a God-given gift that Jesus died on the cross for,” said Dominguez. “In my pursuit of wanting to know more, I can be content with just knowing that I’m human.”
If you know Dominguez, you know how much she puts her own personal situations aside to make sure she gets work done right and to the best of her abilities. She admits that this results in an unhealthy tendency to push down several inner emotions and feelings that never find the chance to surface and be understood. But this was the semester that Dominguez decided to let them rise to the top and address them through therapy.
“I realize I’m not the best-equipped person to be dealing with my issues … there are people better equipped to help solve my problems than just me,” said Dominguez. “It takes a village. And that can even be applied to mental health … If you recognize you have a problem, you can have grace for yourself by reaching out for help.”
She continued by addressing how to give yourself enough grace to take care of yourself in your rawest human form.
“I think that’s the biggest area that I’ve found grace for: that I cannot do this life alone. And I think that ties perfectly back into humanity. There’s no better place to find humanity than in community,” Dominguez shared. “That’s where I find grace for myself, knowing that I can’t do this life by myself. In that grace, I’ve also realized I can’t do everything on my own because I’m at max capacity.”
This is just one example of her humanity. She’s taught me over the past five years of knowing her that although we are capable of great things in this life we’re dealt, we can’t be good at it all without taking care of ourselves first. And this doesn’t come from taking on more titles and responsibilities than others or garnering the most praise and recognition from people. What she’s taught me is that we are called for a much, much greater purpose than all of that.
So, with that, I want to end this article with the biggest lesson I’ve learned from Amanda Dominguez:
“God did not put me on this earth to be defined by rules; God put me on this earth to steward his love. And if I’m doing that in the roles that he’s given me, that’s good enough … I find comfort in the fact that God knows that I’m doing my best when I’m serving Him. And it’s hard to do that sometimes, but also it’s so rewarding and very life-giving. So, through all the hats that I wear at APU, I feel like I have truly done my best to serve Him and to serve others in a way that would bring Him glory.”