There comes a point in everyone’s life when they question why they started what they did in the first place. Why did I choose to do this? What was I thinking?

As a first-year Honors student, I know how stressful and intimidating it can be to start this new chapter of your life during a global pandemic. While the world is fighting to keep people alive, you are fighting your own battles with virtual education and extracurriculars. And trust me, I know it’s not easy no matter what anyone else tells you. 

Honors students tend to be high achievers, setting high, possibly even unrealistic, goals for themselves. And while staying so focused on getting to the finish line, it’s easy to forget where the race even began. They begin to blindly run towards an unclear destination. And I don’t want to sit here and tell you that the journey to achieve your goals is easy and to just stay focused on your target, because if I did, I would be lying. The path of life is far from easy–but it’s not impossible. 

Everyday that you choose to get up in the morning and attend your classes on Zoom, you are taking small steps towards your finish line. You are making a choice, a sacrifice, that you know will benefit you. And yes, those may sometimes be hard and frustrating steps, but trust me, it’s worth it. No step will ever be wasted. Now, you’re probably wondering: What’s her point? I’ve heard this a million times. Maybe you have, but I want to tell you from experience that there is more to your story than you think.

I’m here to tell you that this is your journey, your story, your life. You are the director, producer, and most importantly, the hero of your movie. Don’t let any fear hold you back from whatever you want to do. Move with courage and belief in yourself. Moreover, don’t let anyone, not your parents, not your professor, not your best friend, dictate the life you want to live. You get to choose what you do and why you do it. I’ve noticed that when people ask students what they want to be when they grow up, students are expected to give a “proper” answer, something along the lines of “my parents want me to become an engineer” or “I want to be a lawyer because my dad said that it would be best for me.” A lot of times, students end up majoring, taking classes, or making decisions based on someone else’s influence, whether it be their parents, counselors, close friends. But the real question that many fail to ask is, what do I really want to be when I grow up?

The reason I am telling you this is because I myself have had this experience and asked myself those same questions numerous times over the last year. Going through high school, I wanted to be open-minded and not shut out any opportunities, but there were times when the people around me told me that I wasn’t cut out for something or that they couldn’t see me pursuing  a certain career. And at first, it stung when people would say those things, but then I thought to myself: why am I letting other people tell me what I can and cannot do? I took it as a challenge to prove, not to anyone else, but to myself, that I could accomplish what I set my mind to, not to prove to anyone else but to prove to myself that I could do it. The more I thought about this, the more I realized that everything I saw as a problem or an obstacle actually had a very simple solution. It was just a matter of me choosing to recognize it. And ever since I’ve made that slight adjustment to my thought process and changed my point of view, I’ve developed a whole new way of living my life. A great author once said, “Bloom where you are planted.” You can make your life bloom the way you choose and want it to. Problems come and go. People come and go. But you are permanent in your life, so be who you want to be. The choice is yours.

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