Growing up countless individuals will tell you just how amazing you're going to be. Every parent tells their children they're going to be President, or the first human on Mars, or something unbelievably great. The truth is, we probably won't reach those awesome milestones, and, we probably won't be in history books one day, on money, or probably even have our own statue or third-rate high school named after us.
However, what you do have is an ever-growing voice. In a world of social media and globalization, a few keystrokes can publish an idea to the world and lead to movements, changes, and understanding.
Let's take, for instance, an Odyssey article I wrote in May entitled " It's Official: I Regret Voting for Donald Trump ." I wrote this article to vent, to press people, to be honest with current events. However, in reality, I never expected more than a few dozen family members and friends to read that article.
Yet, several months later, I received a call from a New York area code. When I picked it up, it was the producer of CNN's New Day program asking me if I wanted to appear on a voter panel segment for their show and share my voice with the entire nation.
A week later, I was flown to the city that never sleeps and sat with four other individuals in front of Alisyn Camerota sharing our opinions, our views, on current events. Now, that segment has been viewed over two million times across social media platforms across the globe. I had an opportunity I only dreamed of.
I say all this to make a brief, but very important point. We all have this opportunity, this chance. Standing by silently in a world so fast-paced, so global and ready to listen is a huge mistake. Places like Odyssey, Twitter, Facebook, or other blogging and social media outlets provide you with the opportunity to express yourself, make a point, be vocal, and change the world.
But, there's a key to all this: be respectful. Going to New York City and admitting who I voted for in front of the whole world was risky, but I was prepared to take the hit. Yes, some people were disrespectful, one person even stating the only reason I regret voting for Trump is that I can't get a date (#fakenews). Yet, what made me even more surprised is the outpouring of support from friends, family, and even strangers for speaking up.
Individuals who disagreed with me on everything were excited for the opportunity I was offered. Professors who I thought may shame me or ridicule me basked in the excitement alongside me. Strangers whom I'd never met said I portrayed myself professionally and eloquently.
So, as you continue pushing through life, remember to be vocal and outspoken. The opportunities you'll seize are endless and the change you'll create will be limitless.
What's even more important is the friendships and relationships you'll make along the way. Nothing restored my faith in humanity more than seeing that the vast majority of individuals are calm, cool, and collective, not the screaming outspoken people you see on television or in the Facebook comments.
Good luck, keep posting, and change the world.