Find Your Passion

Find Your Passion

Pursue It
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I feel like my articles have become rather repetitive when it comes to the topic of college and the impact it has had in my life, but it truly has been one of the biggest learning curves I've experienced. I have learned how to withstand forces never put against me before and come out the other side one way or another. I have learned how to handle social struggles, an insurmountable load of anxiety, and numerous academic challenges. But through these experiences I have one learned thing, never give up.

Through all of the long and often teary-eyed phone calls with my mom, there was always one thing she would say that could calm me down no matter what manic state I was in. "God has a plan." As easy as it is to say, it's not always as easy to believe, especially when you're an overtired, overstressed, over-everything college student. The smallest bump in the road feels like you totaled your car. All in all, it's easy to lose faith in not only Him but yourself throughout the course of life and especially college.

Throughout winter break I had a lot of soul-searching to do. I contemplated changing my career, my hair, any little thing in my life that I thought would make me happier. Little did I know God's plan is always better than mine, even when I try to deny it. A valuable lesson I've come to learn is that you have to go with the flow and you can't let one minute mishap knock you down.

Like the song by Chumbwamba "I get knocked down, but I get up again."

I spent three weeks going back and forth about what I truly wanted to spend my life doing. I thought I had lost my passion for physical therapy, lost belief in myself and my academic ability, and all that I used to pride myself on. I felt numb. Not quite sure where my passion, my drive went. I felt like I was in a rut I was never going to get out of. I went back to school and kept going through my normal daily routine in hopes of something coming back to me at some point.

It wasn't until I went back home for spring break did the little glimpse of light I was waiting for came to me. I took a visit to the same special needs school where I had originally discovered my passion for physical therapy and helping others. I walked in and I instantly was flashed back to 8th grade when I had first seen a physical therapist working with special needs children. That's the woman I want to become. I want to be a part of something bigger than myself. I want to make a difference in people's lives.

There is a certain light in the eyes of special needs children. An innocent joy that can turn anyone's frown upside down. I take such inspiration from down syndrome and special needs children that glow with happiness despite what life may have given them. Standing in therapy with children who have been given all the odds to deal with, but still belly laugh and smile loud enough and big enough for everyone to see because of the pure joy in their hearts. I want to spend my life making a difference in the lives of those children because of the difference they have made in mine.

All of the original raw emotion I felt came flooding back and I had my "ah-ha" moment. God has a plan for me. He wants to use me. I need to let him. I don't know how I was able to lose this pure passion just because I went through a few rough patches, but it certainly taught me to never give up on myself.

So on your next bad day, when you get that crappy grade back, or you're just not feeling yourself, remember. God always has a plan. You may not be able to see it, it may not feel like it, but you were put on this Earth for a reason. So find your passion, pursue it, and never look back.

"Even youths grow tired and weary,

and young men stumble and fall;

but those who hope in the Lord

will renew their strength.

They will soar on wings like eagles;

they will run and not grow weary,

they will walk and not be faint."

Isaiah 40: 30-31

Cover Image Credit: Isabella Creech 2014 Down Syndrome Family Connection Photo for Calendar

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When You Make A Girl An Aunt, You Change Her World In All The Best Ways

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her the happiest girl in the world.

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My brother and his wife recently blessed our family with the sweetest bundle of joy on planet earth. OK, I may be a little bias but I believe it to be completely true. I have never been baby crazy, but this sweet-cheeked angel is the only exception. I am at an age where I do not want children yet, but being able to love on my nephew like he is my own is so satisfying.

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her a very protective person.

From making sure the car seat is strapped in properly before every trip, to watching baby boy breathe while he sleeps, you'll never meet someone, besides mommy and daddy of course, who is more concerned with the safety of that little person than me.

When you make a girl an aunt, you give her a miniature best friend.

There is something about an aunt that is so fun. An aunt is a person you go to when you think you're in trouble or when you want something mom and dad said you couldn't have. An aunt is someone who takes you to get ice cream and play in the park to cool down after having a temper tantrum. I can't wait to be the one he runs to.

When you make a girl an aunt, she gets to skip on the difficulty of disciplining.

Being an aunt means you get to be fun. Not to say I wouldn't correct my nephew if he were behaving poorly, but for the most part, I get to giggle and play and leave the hard stuff for my brother.

When you make a girl an aunt, you give her the best listening ears.

As of right now I only listen to the sweet coos and hungry cries but I am fully prepared to listen to all the problems in his life in the future.

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her the best advice giver.

By the time my nephew needs advice, hopefully, I will have all of my life lessons perfected into relatable stories.

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her a number-one fan

Anything you do in life sweet boy, I will be cheering you on. I already know you are going to do great things.

When you make a girl an aunt, she learns what true love is.

The love I have for my nephew is so pure. Its the love that is just there. I don't have to choose to show love every day, I don't have to forgive, I don't have to worry if it is reciprocated, it is just there.

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her the happiest person in the world.

I cannot wait to watch my precious nephew grow into the amazing person that I know he is going to be.

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Odyssey, From A Creator's Point Of View

Writing for Odyssey is transitioning from the outside looking in, to the inside looking a million ways at once.

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It's 11:59 p.m. and I have two articles due tomorrow afternoon: two articles that are basically figments of my imagination at this point. When I was asked to write for Odyssey, I was ecstatic. I was a devout reader in high school and found every post so #relatable. During my short time as a "creator" for Odyssey, I've experienced what it's like to be on the other side of the articles.

Every post is not #relatable. This is a platform for anyone and everyone. I chose the articles I wanted to click on and read them, deemed them relatable, and clicked share. I, along with Odyssey's 700,000 something followers, did not go through and read every single article.

Being a creator has shown me that everyone has a voice, and by God, they're going to use it (rightfully so).

It can be disheartening at times to get what we think is a low number of page views when there are articles we don't necessarily agree with getting hundreds of Facebook shares. I don't crank out journalistic gold by any means, but being a writer isn't a walk in the park. It's stressful at times and even disappointing. Odyssey creators aren't paid, and even though it's liberating to be able to write about whatever our hearts desire, I'll be the first to admit that my life is just not that interesting.

When I first started writing for Odyssey, I vowed to never post anything basic like some things I have read in the past. If I'm going to dedicate the time it takes to write for a national platform, I'm going to publish things worth reading.

That vow is basically out the window now.

Simply stated, it's easy to write about things that are easy to write about. It's kind of like calling a Hail Mary play when it's the night before an article is due and there's been a topic in the back of your mind for days that you don't think is that great, but you think people might read. You just throw it out there and hope for the best. Being a creator gives you inside access to knowing what people are reading, what's popular, and what's working for other creators. Odyssey's demographic is not as diverse as it could or should be, so it's not hard to pick out something that the high school girl you once were will find relatable. Recently went through a breakup? Write about it. Watched a new show on Netflix? Write about it. When there's nothing holding you back, you have the freedom to literally put whatever you want online.

It's not easy coming out of your freshman year of college, one of the hardest years for any person, and being expected to whip up articles that everyone will love. Not everyone is going to love what I write. Heck, not everyone is going to like what I write. The First Amendment is a blessing and a curse. Not everyone is going to agree with you, and that's okay.

The beauty of Odyssey is that it highlights the fact that everyone DOES have a voice, and whether that voice coincides with your religious, political, or personal views isn't up to you.

You have the power to pick and choose what you want to read, relate to, and share. Remember that you have no way of knowing what every single person on the planet is going through and what they choose to write about reflects their own personal opinions, experiences, accomplishments, and hardships. Odyssey creators can spend weeks crafting articles they hope will break the Internet, but in return only get a few views. They can also pull all-nighters grasping at straws just trying to reach the minimum word requirement and end up writing the best thing since sliced bread.

I guess what I'm getting at here is that even though there are posts out there that are so easy for us to relate to, that's not always the goal for writers. We write what we feel, and if there's nothing to write about, we write what we think other people feel. The kicker is that we don't truly know what other people are feeling. You might hurt someone's feelings with your words. You might make someone cry with your story because they felt like they were alone and finally, finally, someone else feels the same way. You might trigger someone and get hateful comments. You might even change someone's life with your words.

The moral of the story is that words are pretty powerful, whether we choose to believe it or not.

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