Have you ever looked back on your life and realized how much you have changed throughout the years? With new opportunities and blossoming friendships around every turn, it's amazing to see how far you've come, yet exciting to think about how far you have to go.
Recently, I had written an article that caused a tremendous amount of controversy which brought with it hatred and spiteful comments from people across the world, but also an immense amount of love and support from family members and friends who were concerned for my well-being. Because of this, I was able to look back on my life and realize how far I truly have come throughout the years.
Looking back on my life, I reminisced on the shy, quiet freshman who had stepped through the doors of her high school for the very first time. I had come from a small private school and yearned to be accepted and "fit in" with the socialites of the school. As the days, months, and years went on, I had grown to find my place within the walls of the high school. I had found my close friend group and did what was expected of me. I had let other people's thoughts and perceptions of my character run my life. I had definitely "fit in", but I wasn't always true to myself and what I believed. However, I didn't really realize that until now looking back at the girl I used to be.
Once college rolled around, I wasn't sure where I "fit in". College is an amazing place full of wonderful opportunities where people finally learn to be who they are and accept themselves. I discovered my passions, developed amazing friendships, and continuously became more confident in myself. I have joined organizations that I love including Alternative Breaks and Phi Sigma Sigma where I have learned countless lessons in leadership, service, and the advancement of womanhood. But more importantly, I have found my voice. The Odyssey has provided me with so much confidence in myself and passion for what I do and I could not be more proud of the work I have put forth as a writer.
After my article went viral and hateful words were stated about my character, I realized how strong I was. My family and friends kept routinely checking in on me to make sure I was okay, but they didn't need too. I have never felt more empowered in my life than I have at this very moment. I feel as if I could move mountains with my words and I'm so proud of the woman I have become: strong, confident, independent, passionate, motivated, bold, hard working, and most importantly, my own person. I can guarantee you, if you truly know me, you haven't met a soul like me, and that in itself is pretty special.
As a college sophomore finishing up in her second semester, I am beyond proud to look back and realize how far I have come and I'm so excited to see where these paths I'm paving will lead me to next. I have always said I wanted to make an impact on this world, but never in my wildest dreams, did I imagine it to be this big.
As for you, I encourage each and every one of you to dig deep and find your voice. It's such an amazing and empowering feeling, I can promise you that.