"Life sneaks up on us every once in a while and gives us something we didn't even know we wanted, and lights within us a love we didn't even know existed." - Shauna Niequist, Cold Tangerines

I've never really been someone who needs other people to motivate me. Whether it was schoolwork, going to the gym, or trying new things, if I ever want to get something done, the motivation has to come from me. If I don't complete a task, I may try to pass the blame but deep down I know it's on me. However, knowing this about myself can sometimes be frustrating because often my eyes and dreams are bigger than I am willing to work for.

I can't count the number of times I have dreamt about a music career with stadium tours and platinum records or going to a top-tier university and getting the opportunity to create a successful start-up company. Sometimes the dreams will seem simple like planning every moment of my dream wedding or visualizing the day I have my first child. While all of those dreams would be amazing, I know they will not all come true. But that is not necessarily a bad thing.

I realize now that I can create my dream life out of what I do have, not out of what I wish I had. As Rumi said "the light is within" and I just need to find it. I know that good things don't just get handed to you, you have to work for them. But my brain works a little differently. When something doesn't go my way, it if anything makes me work even harder.

In December of 2016, I found out I got rejected Early Decision from my dream school. Sad, mad, and generally disappointed, I avoided this topic of conversation with everyone. It felt like a summer of essay-writing, test-taking, and four years of hard work had been thrown out the window. But it motivated me. It made me want to achieve something to prove them wrong.

Of course in the way that I deal with most emotions, I wrote a song about it and, with the help of my sister, posted it on my YouTube channel. It was a productive way of dealing with the rejection. Now that I am almost halfway through my second year at Emory, I truly believe it was for the best because it lit a light within me that I don't think could have come from anywhere else.

The university that I thought was my dream school told me they didn't want me. I built a thick skin (or thicker skin) with their rejection and gained a lot of strength because I had to. I'm sure I'm not the only person they have taught this lesson to and I'm sure I won't be the last. My heartbreak gave me more strength than I could have imagined and still motivates me to achieve greater things, things I thought were only a part of dreams.

"I am going to make you so proud" -Note to self.