The Beauty of Finding Your Path Is Endless

The Beauty of Finding Your Path Is Endless

Being happy with yourself and your accomplishments, that’s true success.
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Growing up, my future was always changing. I was never one of those kids who knew from an early age their life path, that they wanted to be a doctor and followed through with that through college. No, I was the kid who constantly dabbled with different ideas of careers. First it was a ballerina as a lot of five year olds in dance class do. Then it was a fashion designer with my little patterns and sketch books. Then a lawyer, teacher, something with film. When I got to high school I realized that I really didn’t know what I really wanted. I liked so many different things, yet hated doing the same thing day in day out. I was struggling a bit with what path I actually was going to follow.

My sophomore year of high school I began researching different career choices. I always loved Disney, what about designing rides? Well, that’s engineering and I don’t like math that much. Architecture? Nope, still too much math. Then after doing a career quiz online I came across advertising and public relations. I had never put any thought into communications, but it actually seemed fascinating to me. It seemed fun, exciting, invigorating. I knew this was my path.

Now as a junior in college I realize how perfect this path actually is for me. I’m finishing up my first internship and about to start my second. I wake up every day I have to work and am ecstatic for what the day will hold. That is the beauty of following you passion.

The sad thing in today’s society is that we put far too much of an emphasis on money equating success. And sure if you make a lot of money you probably are pretty successful in whatever field you’re in, at least financially. But then what is success?

Success is not just about money, it’s about happiness.

It’s not easy to figure out what you want to do with your life. It’s not meant to be. It’s supposed to be hard, that’s life. But in trying to find what’s next for you, you learn a lot about yourself. You uncover what your strengths are, what ignites a fire within you, what makes you want to wake up in the morning. Even more importantly it helps you find your weaknesses.

It’s your weaknesses that help your grow. If you know what you struggle with you can know what things you can work on. And I don’t mean weaknesses like math or science skills. I mean your personal attributes. Like organization, people skills, time management, the things that you actually need in day-to-day life.

A huge part of feeling confident in your future is feeling confident with yourself. And you can’t do that if you aren’t ok. Something that I’ve really found is the times when I don’t take care of myself and put my wellbeing first are the times when I’m not successful, when I struggle with my relationships and my work. We need to focus on our mental health and our well-beings, or else you won’t have an effective mindset to stay on track and motivated.

I know that by waking up every day being excited to go to work I am doing to the right path. Now there definitely have been days when I questioned this path, questioned my major and future job choice. But then I take a step back, and think about what I love to do. And I can’t imagine myself doing anything else.

There’s something truly special when you feel happy with where you are in life. In my twenty short years, I’ve had many ups and downs, each of them shaping me and guiding my along. I wouldn’t be where I am without them, they are a part of me, a part of the person who I’ve become. I can honestly say that I’m so incredibly happy with the path that I’m on and the person I am becoming. With less than two years until graduation I am so excited for what is in store for me, on top of the obvious nerves of course!

Being happy with yourself and your accomplishments, being hopeful and giddy for the future; it’s the best thing ever. It is true success.

Cover Image Credit: Alex Vans-Colina

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Working With People Who Are Dying Teaches You So Much About How To Live

Spending time with hospice patients taught me about the art of dying.

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Death is a difficult subject.

It is addressed differently across cultures, lifestyles, and religions, and it can be difficult to find the right words to say when in the company of someone who is dying. I have spent a lot of time working with hospice patients, and I bore witness to the varying degrees of memory loss and cognitive decline that accompany aging and disease.

The patients I worked with had diverse stories and interests, and although we might have had some trouble understanding each other, we found ways to communicate that transcended any typical conversation.

I especially learned a lot from patients severely affected by dementia.

They spoke in riddles, but their emotions were clearly communicated through their facial expressions and general demeanor, which told a story all on their own.

We would connect through smiles and short phrases, yes or no questions, but more often than not, their minds were in another place. Some patients would repeat the details of the same event, over and over, with varying levels of detail each time.

Others would revert to a child-like state, wondering about their parents, about school, and about family and friends they hadn't seen in a long time.

I often wondered why their minds chose to wander to a certain event or time period and leave them stranded there before the end of their life. Was an emotionally salient event reinforcing itself in their memories?

Was their subconscious trying to reconnect with people from their past? All I could do was agree and follow their lead because the last thing I wanted to do was break their pleasant memory.

I felt honored to be able to spend time with them, but I couldn't shake the feeling that I was intruding on their final moments, moments that might be better spent with family and loved ones. I didn't know them in their life, so I wondered how they benefited from my presence in their death.

However, after learning that several of the patients I visited didn't have anyone to come to see them, I began to cherish every moment spent, whether it was in laughter or in tears. Several of the patients never remembered me. Each week, I was a new person, and each week they had a different variation of the same story that they needed to tell me.

In a way, it might have made it easier to start fresh every week rather than to grow attached to a person they would soon leave.

Usually, the stories were light-hearted.

They were reliving a memory or experiencing life again as if it were the first time, but as the end draws nearer, a drastic shift in mood and demeanor is evident.

A patient who was once friendly and jolly can quickly become quiet, reflective, and despondent. I've seen patients break down and cry, not because of their current situation, but because they were mourning old ones. These times taught me a lot about how to be just what that person needs towards the end of their life.

I didn't need to understand why they were upset or what they wanted to say.

The somber tone and tired eyes let me know that what they had to say was important and worth hearing. What mattered most is that someone who cared was there to hear it.

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My First College Gal Pal Road Trip Was Amazing

Every girl should have one good girls trip.

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In some way or another, everybody has a list of things they want to do in their lives before it's all over. After all, we're human. There's adventure to be had in every life. One thing I have always wanted to do before I grew too old and grey was go on a road trip with my gal pals to the beach. A couple weeks ago, I achieved this memorable milestone, and it allowed me to open up to new surroundings and experiences.

On this trip, I went with two of my friends from college, Kait and Lindsey, to visit my roommate Elizabeth in Virginia Beach. This was pretty big for Lindsey and I because neither of us had been to Virginia Beach before. Thankfully Elizabeth and Kait knew their way around the city, so we never got lost on our way to and fro.

Like most vacations, my favorite parts probably took place at the beach. I'm always at utter peace stomping through mushy sand or leaning down to splash the salty water that tries to knock my short self over. We took pictures and did something us college girls rarely have time to do especially in school: Relax.

The four of us did not live up to the crazed stereotype of girl trips in movies. Although I finally got a chance to sing along to Taylor Swift in a car ride with my friends, so that's always a plus. We played "Top Golf" one day, and by some miracle, I actually won the second game by a fair amount after much humiliation in the first one. We visited some of Elizabeth's family, and I finally got to meet her giant dog Apollo (I call him 'Wolf Dog'). Everyday was another chance to ask with enthusiasm: "So what are we doing today?"

Our trip wasn't like the movies where we all cried or confessed our deepest darkest secrets. Everything the four of us shared was laughter and this calm feeling of being at home, in the chaotic peace of each other's company. We understand each other a little better due to finally seeing what we're like outside of Longwood University. After this, all I can say is that we're most definitely planning the next one!

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