As summer comes to a close, I began to try to sum up everything I had learned into one giant umbrella lesson if possible. So this is about as close to a vague blanket lesson as I could get without getting excessively cheesy.

As you may know or have started to pick up, I tend to really analyze anything that happens whether it is just an assignment I have to do or it's some life-changing event. I break it down and really look at all of the elements that are impacting the entire situation. Part of that is just to help the process but sometimes it is also be looking for the meanings and greater purpose in things.

For me to process things most of the time I have to think about long-term goals. Now, of course, that doesn't always explain things, it just helps me remember that the here and now is not all that there is. If I only focus on the here and now I tend to attempt to micromanage and obsess over details or small things that in the long run, really won't matter that much.

So all of that being said, sometimes there are lots of stepping stones to get where you're trying to go. Sometimes those stepping stones don't make the most sense or you feel like they are trying to push you off your path. We aren't promised an explanation for these blips but we all know that they are to be expected along the way. Remember the long-term goal.

Maybe your goal is two semesters long and it's to get through this academic year. Maybe it is an eight-year-long plan. Whatever the circumstances are, each day and each stepping stone you pass places you that much closer to your end goal.

Try to reflect, but not dwell on the individual steps to get where you want to go. Appreciate the steps it is taking you to get there. You won't remember the details of those steps years down the road. What you will remember is the effort that you put in to achieve your goal and the feeling of accomplishment you felt when things began to fall into place.

Something that started off as a joke this summer ended up being a sort of encouragement for me. As I was taking my calculus class or filling out volunteer applications for hospital positions, I would chuckle to myself and say "One step closer to becoming a physician". The more I thought about it, the truer it became. Not that these were boxes I had to check off to become a doctor, but they were experiences I was gaining that would bring me to the point of having the proper skill set to have a successful and meaningful career.

Because of this when I was sitting in orientation for my volunteer position I could confidently remind myself that I was building an important step on top of a foundation that had already been poured. I was continuing to pursue my goals while recognizing the process.