With it officially being SPRING (I know it’s hard to believe with the weather) and now that I'm in my last semester, it only seems right to do a reflection. If you can't read all of this, read the quote at the bottom (it’s a goodie).
Here are five pieces of advice based on my leadership experience at Wittenberg:
Don't be afraid to put yourself out there.
You have probably heard this a million times, but hear me out. The experiences that impact you the most are the ones that you have to really think about. Two minutes of getting enough courage or feeling nervous is far easier than feeling stuck in the motions. So get out there, and try something new. Try something that pushes you far away from what is comfortable or easy.
Fall forward from your mistakes.
Don't get hung up when you mess up. Learn from your mistakes, and move on. We are human, and you are going to mess up a lot... AND THAT'S OKAY. Actually, that's a good thing because that means that you are trying and therefore, you are growing.
ALWAYS seek out opportunities to grow.
Growth opportunities are not going to be right in front of you when you wake up in the morning. They won't be right next to your toothbrush before you go to bed. Instead, growth opportunities are going to be something you are constantly looking and reaching for. One day, whether you are applying to grad school or interviewing for a job, you are going to need experiences to talk about. If you want to be impressive, start gaining these experiences now. It’s the moment you start to get comfortable that you are no longer growing (reference #1), so get out there and try something new. Challenge yourself.
Remember that organization, conviction, and reflection are KEY.
Believe in your ability, and know your strengths. This is why SLFs are required to do strength finders. Take to heart what you're good at, and use that to expand your capabilities. Stay organized with your goals, and if you are not happy where you are, figure out how to get where you need to go.
Dream big and do it all.
Make a list of things you want to accomplish here at Wittenberg. This list can include things you want to experience or how you want to grow. For example, "I want to study abroad" or "I want to be comfortable speaking in front of a crowd." Whatever it may be, write it down and commit. We are lucky enough to go to Wittenberg where everyone is MORE THAN WILLING to help you. Don't ever forget that. So reach out, and demolish any chances of having regrets. Four years go by quickly.
With that, I will leave you with a quote that I have read at least once a semester since fall of my freshman year. Here it is:
“There will be hundreds of people out there with your same degree; there will be thousands of people doing what you want to do for a living. But you will be the only person alive who has sole custody of your life. Your particular life. Your entire life. Not just your life at a desk, or your life on a bus, or in a car, or at the computer. Not just the life of your minds, but the life of your heart. Not just your bank account, but your soul. People don’t talk about the soul very much anymore. It’s so much easier to write a resume than to craft a spirit. But a resume is a cold comfort on a winter night, or when you’re sad, or broke, or lonely, or when you’ve gotten back the test results and they’re not so good. So here is what I wanted to tell you today:
Get a life. A real life, not a manic pursuit of the next promotion, the bigger paycheck, the larger house. Do you think you’d care so very much about those things if you blew an aneurysm one afternoon, or found a lump in your breast? Get a life in which you notice the smell of salt water pushing itself on a breeze over Seaside Heights, a life in which you stop and watch how a red-tailed hawk circles over the water gap or the way a baby scowls with concentration when she tries to pick up a cheerio with her thumb and first finger. Get a life in which you are not alone. Find people you love, and who love you. And remember that love is not leisure, it is work.
Each time you look at your diploma, remember that you are still a student, still learning how to best treasure your connection to others. Pick up the phone. Send an e-mail. Write a letter. Kiss your Mom. Hug your Dad. Get a life in which you are generous. Look around at the azaleas in the suburban neighborhood where you grew up; look at a full moon hanging silver in a black, black sky on a cold night. And realize that life is the best thing ever, and that you have no business taking it for granted. Care so deeply about its goodness that you want to spread it around. Once in a while take money you would have spent on beers and give it to charity. Work in a soup kitchen. Be a big brother or sister. All of you want to do well. But if you do not do good, too, then doing well will never be enough.” -Anna Quindlen
Written by Parisa Bennett '17
Major: Management and Financial Economics
Hometown: Chillicothe, Ohio