It Was Better When I Didn't Know My Purpose And Was Unaware Of Dance Marathon At FSU

It Was Better When I Didn't Know My Purpose And Was Unaware Of Dance Marathon At FSU

It was easier when I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life.

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Do you know how we all wanted to be something when we grew up? Whether you wanted to be a pop star, veterinarian, or a doctor, you knew what you wanted to do. Well, I never had that feeling until recently. Here is a question for you though. How many of you want to pursue the profession that was your dream when you were 5 years old? If we are being honest with ourselves, we have all most likely changed our minds.

About one year ago, my mom came home and told me, "I could really see you working at Shands Children's Hospital." That left me surprised. Up until then, I had wanted to either be an Athletic Trainer or a Chiropractor. Never once did I think I had the emotional stability to work somewhere like Shands. From that day forward, it was in the back of my head. Was this really what I wanted to do? Just a couple of weeks before, I had attended Dance Marathon at FSU. The most amazing experience of my life. I had/have such a passion for helping kids.

The most impactful miracle child in my life is Marshal Fisher. Marshal had to have his leg amputated due to osteosarcoma in his right leg. Marshal made the brave decision to have the procedure done because he wanted to live his life and do what he wanted to do. Because of Marshal and his legacy, I want to be the one that helps someone chase crabs on the beach.

So here I am now, applying for the Athletic Training program at FSU in hopes of going to Physical Therapy school so that I can be around the people that I have the most passion for. Because that is my purpose. And I am completely terrified? I spent so much time going back and forth from what I wanted to do with my life that I was never really motivated because I knew I had time. Well, I am almost halfway through college, and I am so scared that obstacles will get in the way of making my dreams a reality.

But was it really better when I did not know my purpose? In the long run, no. The time I have spent since knowing my purpose has been the greatest time. I capture moments more. Whenever I meet a miracle family, I internalize the fond memory of it because those are the moments that I will hold close to my heart forever. So no, it is better to know your purpose so you can make a difference now.

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The Problem With Toms

Is One- For- One sustainable?
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We all love our cute and trendy Tom's shoes, the very basic but versatile canvas shoes, with dozens of patterns ranging from stripes, dots, and even cats- Americans love these seemingly charitable shoes. With the company's worth estimated at $625 million, it is easy to see that we love products that make us feel good about ourselves.

But just how much "good" are we actually doing? Tom's famous "one for one" model may seem like a innovative idea, but it has been harshly criticized by economists, who claim this model of donation could actually cause harm to countries receiving the donations.

The idea is that donations from other countries can do major harm to local economy; for example, a local store owner who sells and repairs shoes has fewer sales because his customers were given free shoes from Tom's, which can create a dangerous dependence on foreign aid.


In fact, a study done in El Salvador in 2016 performed by professor Bruce Wydick of San Francisco proved Tom's shoes had no positive impact on foot health, shoe ownership (old shoes were just thrown away), or even self- esteem.

This may sound selfish, of course we want to help developing countries with much needed supplies, but rather than outright giving them these products, we need to assist them in stimulating growth of their local economies to become financially independent and prosperous without foreign aid.

Since Tom's shoes tend to be directed into the most poverty- stricken areas, we realize that shoes are probably not the first thing we ought to worry about for these recipients, you can not eat shoes, nor can you cure a treatable disease with a pair of canvas loafers.

Of course Founder Blake Mycoskie means well, as a person he has proved to be caring and charitable, but his so called "charity" has no significant impact on poverty.


Not only is this model ineffective in ending the cycle of poverty abroad, but quite frankly consumers are being duped. Tom's shoes, made of only rubber and canvas, sometimes suede material, cost $9 to make. Let me repeat myself, $9. Meanwhile we pay anywhere from $44- $150 for these kicks. So even if we were to buy two pairs, one for us, and one for an underprivileged child in Ghana, we may only spend $20- $25 for the shoes and shipping costs.

If you're feeling charitable, one of the best options you can choose is actually donating money. None of us want to hear that- but the reality is developing countries need clean water, food, and access to education and healthcare more than they need a pair of shoes.


Cover Image Credit: Toms

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My Whole Life Was Put In Perspective In 2 Hours

Thank you Penn State THON, for teaching all of us how lucky we are to have our own lives.

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It's a Monday and I am functioning on 15-16 hours of sleep distributed across 3 nights. Yet, I feel the most awakened I have ever felt in my life.

What?

As a Penn State student, I have absolute privilege of joining tens of thousands of other students to be a part of Penn State THON, a 46-hour dance marathon, the largest student-run philanthropy event in the world that raises over $10 million for childhood cancer. I just attended for my second time and agreed to dance for 23 hours, nearly 10 more hours than I had the previous year.

I was on crutches from a severe hip injury so I seemed a little crazy to agree to dance for that long. Maybe I was. I was still determined to attend, however, because "everyone is going" and "I'd be missing out" and "it's so much fun." Probably not the best rationales for attending an event for childhood cancer (in fact, they were pretty selfish rationales), but nonetheless I decided to go and spent time with two different clubs that raised money for childhood cancer.

In the days (and weeks and months) leading up to THON, I complained about my hip problem. I complained a lot. The biggest burden in the world was having to function on crutches and deal with pain and not be able to run at track meets and the entire world had some vendetta against me and God hated me more than anyone else on this planet. It was true that my life was difficult at this moment. The least fortunate people still hate excruciating pain and struggling to live their everyday lives from the amounts of pain.

But in my own opinion, nothing was more difficult than the life I was living and I was the most burdened person on planet Earth.

Yet I attended THON and stayed as long as I had committed to staying. Twenty-three hours. However, it wasn't the 21st and 22nd hour for me (and the 44th and 45th hour for the entire event) that my entire life was put into perspective.

In my 21st and 22nd hour there, when my enjoyment seemed to be replaced with an aching and tired hip, families came up to speak about why we were there (childhood cancer) and unveil the unfortunate truth (many children lose their battles). Families spoke about losing their children to such a terrible disease, or worrying that one day their children will not wake up in the morning, or have a vibrant child whose life was turned upside-down with a single statement. In that time, I gained an appreciation for the preciousness and fragility of my own life, for the value of every time my heart beats, for the worth of every time I take a breath. And in my nineteen years of life, I never once worried that a single breath would be my very last.

Of course, I wasn't oblivious to the idea that children are diagnosed with cancer and sometimes lose their battle. But something about seeing the grieving families, of seeing continuous faces of lost children who never turned double-digits or begged that they "didn't want to die." In those two hours, reality touched me, perhaps with a harder and more brutal hit than ever before. And it made the pain I was feeling not so bad. Because every moment of my life (and all of our lives) is a gift, whether we have hip pain or no hip pain, sadness or no sadness, motivation or no motivation to live it out to the fullest. And for that experience, I am thankful to have my life, and my family members have theirs, and so do my friends, and so do the people on my college campus, on the street, in the world.

I might have trouble going shopping for myself, traveling to class (or really anywhere), or rolling over in my sleep at night. But at least I know that this may not be my last night on Earth. At least I know that even if I'm struggling to go to bed from the pain I'm feeling, I can almost guarantee that I will wake up tomorrow. I will one day feel better. I will survive.

Sometimes, we fail a test, lose a game, or get dumped by our significant others. The world is crumbling and we feel like failures. We don't feel that we can survive another day, because life doesn't seem worth living anymore. It's true that these challenges are completely valid and they completely suck. But we need to fight for triumph over these challenges. We don't need to fight for our own lives. These times will pass. We will survive.

And for everyone, there are days that just don't please us. We can't wake up, we can't function throughout the day, worry strangles us with its ugly fist and we feel like life isn't worth it. And we are allowed to feel that way. I have felt that way in the past and will probably feel as such in the future. But we have to remember that many of us have been around for 10, 13, 18, 20, 21, or 25 years and survived 100% of those days. At least we don't have a 10% chance of surviving our miserable days. We will survive.

So as I, along with thousands of others saw the preciousness of our lives, we came to realize in two hours how lucky we are to live and fight for those who struggle to live.

And in two hours, my whole life was put into perspective.

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