By Elaina Taylor
While this blog post is supposed to be about the most important thing we’ve learned this year, I’ve found that the growth I’ve experienced cannot be examined, confined, or defined by a single event or lesson. So I choose to touch on multiple moments and experiences because they all have shaped the person I am now.
In the realm of self-realizations, I have found I decidedly hate change, which happens to be a serious problem, since our lives are forever changing, our spirits and souls forever evolving.
As someone who has always struggled to fit in, I clung to my close friends with a tenacity some did not deserve. Certain friends often failed to treat me with the same respect and kindness as I did them, and while that hurt, I still struggled on to make the friendships work. To be terrified of change in this case was to be petrified of letting anyone go, even those who did not deserve my friendship. Through the friends I’ve made during my time thus far in college, I’ve found a wellspring of support for the person I am, and learned my own self-worth. And in that, I realized that I deserved better than those false friends and was finally able to let them go.
I also learned the hard way that first impressions can make or break you, and that a resume and writing samples can only go so far. How blunders in mannerisms or word and clothing choice in an interview can destroy your initial chances of leaving behind the most positive impression of yourself. I left my first interview feeling like I’d missed a step on the stair, doubting if I was treading on solid ground; so shaken was my confidence. In my case, I got very, very lucky. My passion, fearlessness, and dedication to pursue writing for TAD are what landed me the job, and only by the narrowest of margins.
And as cliché as it will sound, I’ve learned to recognize and reflect on how my first-world problems are not the end of the universe, nor are they even the end my own little universe, as I often have to remind myself. I have found the perfect remedy for whenever I feel grumpy or begin to lament my worldly woes: the Humans of New York Facebook page. Photographer Brandon Stanton goes around New York City interviewing his subjects, who give him the most interesting, and often thought-provoking answers. These little snapshots of humanity never fail to put me back in my little college white girl, middle class place with equal doses of laughter and tears alike. It also enables me to see the best of my situation after reading the heartfelt words of people who have survived infinitely more trying experiences than I have.
Though I may bemoan a poor result on a test, I know that my own work ethic will push me to achieve more next time because I myself demand better. So what if it is raining and my shoes are ruined? Maybe that’s Mother Nature’s way of saying I need a pair of rain boots! A summer job opportunity closed up before you could apply? It wasn’t meant to be this time, but there’s always next summer. And if a relationship didn’t work out the way I wished it would have, well then there are clearly more worthwhile fish in the sea! The perspective you gain simply from reading the sorrows, or even joys, of others will more often than not cause you to reanalyze your own problems and priorities. I hope you find your own perspective, your own snapshots of humanity as I did with HONY, and I hope you grow from it as I continually do.