Not so long ago, I had the opportunity to listen to author and entrepreneur Wes Moore during the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students in Tampa, Florida.
He talked to the crowd about his story. He was born in a tough setting, yet he rose above his situation and became a Rhode Scholar. After hearing about a man with his same name who grew up in a similar context, yet ended up leading very different lives, he wrote a book called The Other Wes Moore.
I was inspired by his story, a story that highlighted the importance of our own expectations of ourselves.
After his talk, there was a Q&A session. I got up and when it was my turn I asked how we as students can be a person of motivation and encouragement to others; how can we impact someone's life?
I was surprised when he replied, "You already are that person." He explained that people look at us and what we do has the potential to impact others, even though we often don't realize it.
He was right. I went back and thought of all the times I have seen fellow students and colleagues do things that were probably normal for them, but that certainly left an impression on me.
From something as simple as a senior research student offering tips for medical school applications and admissions to seeing students volunteer to help others in their projects, their actions made an impact on me.
In the same way, you already are a person who can make an impact in someone else. More than likely, you have already made an impact on someone. Being so, it is important to have this mindset that we can inspire those around us.
So, when you go out to work or to college remember this simple principle: you are impacting others. Now that you know this, be proactive about it. Here are three simple ways you can do this:
1. Help a friend with a project in something you have experience with
This will give you a chance to connect with the person on something they consider important. It also serves as an example of goodwill that they may hopefully pass on.
2. Use your experience or status to help those behind you
For example, if you are a senior who's gone through all the hard classes and has experience in the field, offer to mentor a freshman or two. Go to a class, talk with a freshmen class professor and ask them if any students can benefit from what you have to say.
3. Thank those who have inspired or motivated you
Reach out to those classmates, friends, professors, or family members who have had an impact on your life. For example, that professor who told you to keep going despite the grades, your hardworking parents, the friend who backed you up with an idea, or that person who posted something on Facebook that you needed to hear.
"Good actions give strength to ourselves and inspire good actions in others."
- Samuel Smiles