It May Not Always Be Recognized, But You Are Impactful.

It May Not Always Be Visible, But You Have An Impact

It can be tiring putting our best foot forward each day when we don't know where it's taking us or if it is making a difference.


Today I stood in a room surrounded by holiday gifts for 477 individuals in the Washington, DC community. Before my eyes, I saw the tangible impact in the last four months of my work to plan a holiday gift giving event for my university. It is truly amazing to see your work pay off in the form of something physical.

But sometimes being left with a tangible representation of your work is not possible.

This is not an easy pill to swallow. You wonder if the hours upon hours of work you put in produces anything at all. There are plenty of thankless tasks that we do each day, but we shouldn't jump to the conclusion that all of those tasks are for no reason.

In American society, I think sometimes we struggle with properly showing our appreciation for what others do for us. We don't often think of the time it might take for someone to do something, so we may just half-heartedly say "Thanks," if we say anything at all. As someone who appreciates gratitude and feedback about the work I do, not receiving any verbal form of gratitude or even critique can be difficult. I silently hope that what I did was enough or fulfilled what was expected of me. It can be hard to keep yourself self-assured that you are doing the right thing.

But until someone says "no" or "stop" or provides any sort of critique or feedback we should just keep on doing what we are doing. Because a small task that could be passed off as the bare minimum or just something to do could be seen as going the extra mile to someone else.

This is because another flaw in American culture is the desire to receive something as proof of our effort. This is seen a lot in community service if people go out and do a day of service, many go in with the expectation of seeing the direct impact of their service. If they don't see that impact, they may feel disappointed when in reality it can be the least visible things that are the most impactful.

There is a TED talk that much more eloquently describes the point I am trying to make. Drew Dudley presented a TED Talk on "Everyday Leadership" or what I like to call lollipop moments.

Dudley describes how during college orientation when he was volunteering and handing out lollipops as part of the orientation festivities, he saw a girl who was visibly upset standing in a line. Dudley went to the boy who was standing behind this girl and handed the boy a lollipop and told him to give it to the girl in front of him.

It was a small act of kindness. It is one wherein the moment you might walk away with a warm feeling that quickly fades and then you don't think much of the event afterword. In Dudley's case, his gesture created an impact he never would have imagined.

Years later, Dudley received a wedding invitation. It was announcing the wedding of the boy and girl in line. That lollipop from Dudley started a long-term relationship that led to a marriage.

These are the moments Dudley calls lollipop moments, the moments that can pass without recognition, yet still, have large impacts. Dudley argues that this is the mentality we should have as we go about our lives every day.

Being leaders through the smallest of actions. A smile, a hug, a compliment, an interaction over the phone, a simple favor. These are things that don't take much, in fact, I am sure you already do some of these things every day already.

So, if you are already doing these things, why am I telling you to do them? Because we can all be reminded of this sometimes. We may get caught up for competing for the biggest piece of recognition or searching for some tangible evidence that proves to us that we are making a difference, but our impact is often invisible, and that is okay.

In the meantime, a small moment of leadership you can take is gratitude. Showing others that you are grateful for them and their actions can go a long way. I am sure when you are thanked for doing something it makes your bucket a little fuller, so go ahead and fill another person's bucket with your thanks and gratitude.

All of these things are very interconnected. Often, we neglect to let people know their work is appreciated and having an impact. But we have to be mindful that the biggest impacts may go unspoken or realized for quite some time. In turn, though, we can remind people they are appreciated by showing our gratitude for what they do for us and being leaders in our everyday actions.

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The Truth About Young Marriage

Different doesn't mean wrong.

When I was a kid, I had an exact picture in my mind of what my life was going to look like. I was definitely not the kind of girl who would get married young, before the age of 25, at least.

And let me tell you, I was just as judgmental as that sentence sounds.

I could not wrap my head around people making life-long commitments before they even had an established life. It’s not my fault that I thought this way, because the majority opinion about young marriage in today’s society is not a supportive one. Over the years, it has become the norm to put off marriage until you have an education and an established career. Basically, this means you put off marriage until you learn how to be an adult, instead of using marriage as a foundation to launch into adulthood.

When young couples get married, people will assume that you are having a baby, and they will say that you’re throwing your life away — it’s inevitable.

It’s safe to say that my perspective changed once I signed my marriage certificate at the age of 18. Although marriage is not always easy and getting married at such a young age definitely sets you up for some extra challenges, there is something to be said about entering into marriage and adulthood at the same time.

SEE ALSO: Finding A Husband In College

Getting married young does not mean giving up your dreams. It means having someone dream your dreams with you. When you get lost along the way, and your dreams and goals seem out of reach, it’s having someone there to point you in the right direction and show you the way back. Despite what people are going to tell you, it definitely doesn’t mean that you are going to miss out on all the experiences life has to offer. It simply means that you get to share all of these great adventures with the person you love most in the world.

And trust me, there is nothing better than that. It doesn’t mean that you are already grown up, it means that you have someone to grow with.

You have someone to stick with you through anything from college classes and changing bodies to negative bank account balances.

You have someone to sit on your used furniture with and talk about what you want to do and who you want to be someday.

Then, when someday comes, you get to look back on all of that and realize what a blessing it is to watch someone grow. Even after just one year of marriage, I look back and I am incredibly proud of my husband. I’m proud of the person he has become, and I’m proud of what we have accomplished together. I can’t wait to see what the rest of our lives have in store for us.

“You can drive at 16, go to war at 18, drink at 21, and retire at 65. So who can say what age you have to be to find your one true love?" — One Tree Hill
Cover Image Credit: Sara Donnelli Photography

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Summer And Jobs

Working summers doesn't have to be tedious.


Like many other college students, I was ready for summer but was kinda bummed that I had to work. Its not that I didn't like where I was working, I actually was really lucky to be working in a hospital environment but I just hated being alone all summer from 9-5. I've had this job for a few years now and a few other paid interns came and went but I never really connected with any of them. This year is different though.

I got really lucky to have another intern work with me that was very similar to me. The tasks we got were always simple but they were made to be more fun because I got to do them while talking with someone else. Now I actually enjoy and look forward to going to work.

The key to finding a good job is finding one that you enjoy doing and one that will help you gain knowledge that will help you out with future career plans. Working with friends also make tasks enjoyable! I would be careful with working with your friend however because if your job needs you to be serious and focused, being around your best friends may distract you from that.

Another thing that definitely makes summer jobs more enjoyable are taking breaks! It is your summer vacation after all! I'm not saying don't take a day off just to sit around, but if you make plans with family and friends, take a Friday off and enjoy the warm weather and good company! Employers understand that us college students and on break and have lives, they are usually very lenient with days off!

If you have to do a summer job to make money to live off of or pay for college, the best thing to do is look at the big picture. If you don't enjoy your job but can't afford to quit, remember that the money if going to help you out a lot. Also, this job is probably only for the summer right? So it's not permanent my friend! Get through these annoying few weeks and you will be back at college, taking steps for a bigger and brighter future.

Summer jobs are tough, I know, but make the most of it! And don't forget to enjoy it whenever you can!!!


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