Mistakes Do Not Define You

My Mistakes Do Not Define Who I Am

We all make mistakes but that does not mean that is who we are.

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Everyone always says that your 20's are going to be the best years of your life. What they don't tell you is how many mistakes you will encounter or how you will deal with your mistakes. Let me tell you; encountering your mistakes, accepting them, and moving on from your mistakes are probably one of the hardest things you will ever do.

I won't go too much into detail about what my life-changing mistake was but I'll tell you now; it was the absolute hardest situation I had to deal with (and I've dealt with a lot of difficult situations in my life). My mistake was simple as this: I was not honest with my family, I was not honest with my own best friend, or honest with the people around me, but more importantly I was not honest with MYSELF.
I am a huge family person. I have always loved my family and no matter what all I ever wanted was to make my family proud; even if my actions did not reciprocate what I really felt. I thought that putting up this facade of what my parents thought would make them proud and keeping up this act would make everything better. I would come home every day and tell them what they wanted to hear to be proud of me. I kept up with this facade to a point where even I believed I was happy. I even believed that everything would be okay in the end. Surprise surprise; everything was NOT okay.

The facade blew up in my face and nothing was the same but worst of all; my family was broken for months. The saying "Sometimes you have to fall before you fly" well if that was the case imagine a high cliff like Splash Mountain ride at Disney high and I was falling. It honestly felt like I was never going to land. I was so broken and had no idea what to do or how to go about my life anymore. It was to a point where I just felt empty inside and close to a point where I wanted to harm myself to feel something and to stop crying. My best friend who was still by my side regardless of the facade I had put up had emailed me this when I felt like all hope was lost "In the end it will be okay, if it is not okay then it is not the end" and I was finishing up "Me After You" (which by the way is a great book but I'll post about that another time) and I read "you don't have to let that one thing be the thing that defines you".

After reading that line I decided to take life into my own hands. I have been given a new start. A chance to do everything my way and not worry about what would make my parents happy but what would make ME happy. I decided that I was not going to let the past define who I was. I was not going to let it define my future. After sitting down and figuring out what God had wanted me to do, I prayed and I prayed hard until one day it all hit me like a whirlwind. I volunteered for VBS, I finally said yes to becoming a Core Member for my church youth group, I said yes to going back to school for nursing (maybe even a minor in business), and I said yes to taking my life into my own hands and studying what I am passionate about.

Now, don't get me wrong; I still want nothing more than my family to be happy and to be accepted by my parents. But, how am I suppose to accept that my family will be happy and proud of me if I am not happy or proud of myself when I have been given a chance to start a new chapter in my life? How am I suppose to believe that this second chance is a chance for me to change if I don't believe that I am worth something more than my mistake?

It is okay to want your family to be happy and be proud of you; as long as you are happy and proud of yourself first. It is okay to make mistakes in life; as long as you don't let them define who you are. In the end, it will all be okay, if it is not okay then it will not be the end.

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Saying Goodbye To Freshman Year

"High School goes by fast, but college goes by even faster."
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“High School goes by fast, but college goes by even faster”, we’ve all heard it and probably all ignored it as well. I mean time is time. It moves at the same pace no matter what you’re doing right?

Nope.

High School is over, I’m now a freshman in college and it’s April. I’m sitting here in my dorm looking at all my clothes, and bins thinking, how in the hell will this all fit in my car again? It is crazy, I need to be thinking about all of this now because there is one month of my freshman year left, just one.

All I can keep thinking is how? Wasn’t it just last week that I moved into my cozy room at the end of the hall, or just yesterday that I ran home to two hundred beautiful new sisters? As much as it seems like yesterday, it wasn’t.

It was almost eight months ago that I stepped onto this campus as a freshman, now it is my last four weeks and they are jam-packed. From formal to finals I am in the home stretch of my first year of college. I just registered for my classes next semester, and can’t get it through my head that I will soon be a sophomore.

While walking around campus I still catch myself thinking, wow I am really here. I am a college student, at a school, I fall more in love with every day. So, how can I be a sophomore now when I feel like I just got here?

Yes, I still have three amazing years of college ahead of me, and I can’t wait to see what those years have in store in for me. But, I just can’t help but feel a little sad that I won’t be a freshman anymore. I won’t be the youngest in my sorority family, I won’t be coming back to a dorm every night.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am stoked to live in an apartment next year with my absolute best friends. And you definitely could have heard me saying “I am so over this whole dorm thing” once or twice this semester, but now I can’t help but see all the things I’ll miss.

Freshman year is just unique. You get this giant clean slate, a fresh start. And it is just waiting to see what you’ll do with it. It truly is a year of firsts. My first failure, the first time being on my own, my first time not knowing anyone in my classes. Yes, that can all be a lot to take on, I was terrified at the start of the school year. But before I knew it, I had a routine, I had friends, I had a life here.

And this life surpassed all my expectations. I have a home away from home. I have friends that I know will be my bridesmaids some day. I have experiences that I’ll never forget.

Now as I head back home for the summer I couldn’t be more excited to be with my friends there and my family. But, I also couldn’t be sadder to leave my friends here, even if it’s only for three months because they’ve become another kind of family.

Despite leaving freshman year behind, we have so many more memories to make whether it’s doing the Seminole chop in Doak, coordinating our Halloween costumes, or just chilling at the house. We’ve all come so far this year, and I can’t wait to see just how far we go. So bring it on Sophomore year, I’m ready for ya.

Cover Image Credit: Cameron Kira

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For Every Aspiring First Year Teacher, Read These 15 Quotes To Stay Motivated And Inspired

Our first year may be our toughest; it can also be one of the best.

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Before we even have our own classroom, we question how we will make it through our first year. We think, "Alright I'm finally going to have my own classroom. FINALLY. But wait, hang on a second. I'm going to have my own classroom. Just me. No one else. HOLY BANANAS."

We all know from student teaching, and other practicums, that this profession is hard work; there's no way around that. So, before we get too overwhelmed, let's decide to instead be inspired and motivated to do our very best. Recently, I attended an education conference and heard these 15 quotes. They genuinely changed and enhanced my outlook on the teaching profession.

So give 'em a chance! Get motivated and get inspired.

"Learning happens at the speed of trust."

"Teaching is a mission, not a job." 

"Students don't care how much time you put into lessons, they just care that you care."

"A student may come to you 'at risk,' but they'll be 'at promise' if you're their teacher." 

"What is your 'why' for teaching?" 

"Don't turn off the switch." 

"There are 65 hours between when kids leave us on Friday and when they come back to us on Monday. Some kids are desperately waiting for Monday. How will you make Monday memorable?" 

"Are your students at an advantage BECAUSE you are their teacher?" 

"We all want to make a difference, but WHY do YOU want to be a teacher?" 

"Everyone remembers their really good teacher." 

Teaching is one of the most rewarding professions. It's also one of the toughest.

We can do this!

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