Graduation Reflection: How College Impacted My Confidence and My Heart

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I’ve had some time to reflect on the whirlwind of my life this past month— the newness of being a college alumni, the subtle emptiness of a once favored chapter, and the grand adventure waiting to unfold. 

As I graduated, I was in awe of all the work that had transpired for me to be in this moment—walking across the stage, receiving my diploma, turning the page on a place I called home for the past 4 years. I found myself thanking my family and friends, but most importantly, my gratitude drifted to all the letdowns and confusion I’ve endured because I was sculpted, molded by all my failures that became lessons.

Everything I had once wanted to work out, but didn’t, finally made sense. I understood why certain paths were just not for me, I was being prepared for my HELL YES.  

For a few short moments as I strutted across the stage, my life made perfect sense. I was me, and that was enough— no nerves, no distractions, just me and my value.

I had transformed, blossomed into a woman who is independent, resilient, and understanding of one’s self, others, and the world near and far. 

I had set my heart and mind to something and I achieved what I had planned to do; I accomplished something that once felt like a vague, distant dream. As I graduated, I watched it all come together, in harmony— a milestone, a coming of age story as old as time. 

A major revelation in my heart was that I am an adult now. I know they say 18 is the age you can vote and buy tobacco, move out and carry on, but as I hugged and thanked my mom, my presence was different— more confident, more assured, more adult-like. At 22, I became an adult. At 22, I graduated college and made decisions for my future that fell completely on my own shoulders. Longevity and fulfillment filtered into my decisions. 

I didn’t need training wheels for life anymore and for a few moments I glided as if I were invincible, as if I’d never fall. I rationally know I’ll rock back and forth, fall too many times to count, get a few scraped knees, maybe a broken heart or two, but with the wind in my hair and hope in my heart, I made one promise to myself— I’ll always get back up. I’ll always try again. I’ll always have faith in my heart to do better and believe in the magic of today, the magic of tomorrow, and the magic of loving myself. 

That’s one thing I hold near and dear to my heart, and know I must value through all the years to come— it’s so important to have love and respect for myself and the world around me. When I truly started to believe in myself, a ‘no’ could not stop me; countless no’s motivated me and served as a reminder that the ride is the most beautiful part of the journey. 

Graduating was rewarding, and it had meaning and fullness because of the grueling nights of projects and studying, because of the involvement I had created within my community with peers and professors, because of the passionate people I surrounded myself with, inspiring me day in and day out, and lastly because I was pushed outside of my comfort zone in every avenue. 

The ride was filled with tremendous growth and soul searching, experiences I wouldn’t trade for the world and as I reflect during my gap between graduation and leaving for the Peace Corps, I understand the important of the in between moments, making the most of the growing pains, and loving experiences before they are over. 

I’m so thankful for the opportunity to share my thoughts and reflections like this, and I owe a lot to Florida Gulf Coast University for being the foundation for me to find my confidence and love for myself. Thank you mom and dad, Mark and Morgan, friends and family for the endless love and support, and rooting for me.

So cheers to new beginning and valuing those special people I wouldn’t want to live without! 

 

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When Your Best Shot Doesn’t Feel Good Enough

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You hear it all the time, and usually in a joking sense, but somehow the saying “shoot your shot” prompts you to take five steps out of your comfort zone because the reality is known that if you shoot your shot, the worst thing that can happen is…….. you miss. In most situations, you can only enhance what you already have or gain in some sorts.

“You have nothing to lose,” they said.

But what happens when you keep shooting again and again, and every shot is an airball, like continuous epic fails?

It’s easy to fall into a slump, especially in college when you are enduring so much pressure to do more, to be more, to beef up that resume while still trying to make new friends, keep old ones, and find Mr. Right. My head spins thinking about all I have to accomplish within a 24 hour span while trying to plan for the foreseeable future and the long-run.

Well, I’m here to say: failure is all part of the process that I’m desperately trying to trust.

After another failed attempt at something I wanted so badly, I felt slightly broken and far from good enough, but a comforting voice of reason in my life reminded me, some of the most successful people in the world have heard the word NO more than anyone else. In my economic’s class, Moral Foundation and Capitalism, we discussed that a NO/ rejection is a way of saying you and your time would be more valuable elsewhere and that with due time, you will find your place in this rocky world.

It’s all about risk and reward, especially in our society. Stepping out of your comfort zone and exposing yourself in a vulnerable way with everything you’ve got is risk in and of itself, but the reward that could potentially follow is monumental. Although the rejection (or like I said airball) may sting, don’t let it force you into questioning your worth and ability because that’s not the case at all; every no is one step closer to the right yes, where you will be valuable and blossom to new heights. You just have to keep trying, and never give up because if I stopped after every rejection or let down I’ve endured, I wouldn’t have used those lessons to achieve more and be where I am in this moment.

What College Major Should You Choose?

What College Major Should You Choose?

Choose the major that excites you.

When I graduated high school, the million dollar question was, “what do you want to do next?”

College was inevitable for me— I always knew higher education was the path I wanted to go down and eventually, I’d find a career that I love. Yet, I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to go to school for or what my end goal was. I wouldn’t consider myself indecisive, but after different experiences and exposure to new knowledge, my priorities, goals, and mindset began shifts and alter.

That leads to where I am today.

I’m on the brink of entering my senior year of undergrad at a university I love, and I will be graduating with degrees in majors I love even more.

Pressures to be a certain way or choose a certain path can be very real, daunting, and even promising; the people with influences on our lives try to guide us in what they believe is best for us— but, just because they think it’s best for you doesn’t mean it is. What’s really the best for us is to be free thinking individuals who are able to be held accountable for our decisions and ultimately, our mistakes.

When you make decisions and choices that are going to impact your life, it’s essential to remember that you are worthy and deserving of happiness and that with dedication and drive, your wildest dreams aren’t just wishful thinking.

Those aspirations can and will be your future if you allow yourself to absorb knowledge, grow through what you go through, and embrace the beautiful uniqueness of your soul.

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When you pick a major you love, you blossom and connect with a new sense of love for learning and growth.

You can envision a tomorrow better than your yesterdays. When you choose to expand your knowledge in a field that inspires you, you are setting up yourself for success and with that optimism and fortitude, you’ll either find or create a career that brings out the best in you— whether that’s through leading, educating, care-taking, and the list is never ending.

When you allow yourself to follow passion, working doesn’t feel much like work, but more as an opportunity for betterment and fulfillment. Good luck, you’ve got this!