Do you remember when you were a kid or a teen and you thought, How could life get any worse? Well, as you're reading this, I'm willing to bet your life hasn't gotten any worse, but rather quite the contrary. You see, in the times of middle and high school, life was lived day-by-day. While some of us may have had long-term goals in mind, the rest were just going through the motions, allowing each day to affect how we felt about those around us, and most importantly how we truly felt about ourselves.

I know for me, some days were extremely difficult to get out of bed and wander into an atmosphere that led me to being endlessly bullied and pushed around like some ragdoll. I'm not saying any of this for pity, but rather to juxtapose my life then, to my life now. I was the kid who always looked uncomfortable or out of place, with an untamed mop on my head and a face full of infamous adolescent acne. Why am I telling you this? Mainly for one reason: while my life was never that terrible, in those moments, I thought I was about as worthless as the dust mites floating in our hallways.

Fast-forward eight years. I'm a twenty-something year old young man who (thankfully) grew into his body and is on the path to landing his dream job. I live on my own and have realized that, despite what I have gone through, I can control where I'm going. And the best part is that through all of those experiences, the pain I thought I was feeling, I have become a stronger, more open-minded person than I could have ever imagined. So, thank you to those who pushed me down, who told me I couldn't do it, because here I am, proudly standing in front of you not only to show how far I've come, but to graciously offer my hand to help you do the same.

The thing is, there is no magic saying or secret life-hack to get through tough times. But there is opportunity; opportunity for life to get better, for you to become stronger, and for better times to be had. The beauty of life lies within its struggles. Without valleys, where is the beauty in mountains; without struggle, where is the beauty in success? You are in control, you're the author of this story you are living and while road bumps will arise, you can and will overcome them and look back and think, Huh, you know, that really wasn't that bad after all. And the fact is, everything seems worse while you're knee-deep in it, so keep pushing, keep fighting for your dreams, and you'll overcome any obstacle. You'll never know if you'll succeed until you try, and think of all the opportunities you'd miss out on if you decided to quit.