When Growth is Your ONLY Option

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By Omekah Edmondson

I tend to reach for the classics when my future is looking a little fuzzy and I’m riding the struggle bus for a little too long. Low and behold I landed on Des’ree’s classic, “You Gotta Be.” This throwback really hit home for me and was just that extra push I needed to power through this last week of college life.

So many lyrics stuck out to me and really made me think. It all made me question what I’ve learned about myself this year, as well as if I have grown as a person. Now I know it may be an odd take on a piece but I’m hoping that my learning experiences, daily Ls, and documentation of growth are all things you can take something away from.

What I learned:

I learned that it is ok not to be ok. I usually take at least 7 L’s a day … minimum and it was taking its toll on me. I’ve been practicing what I preached and worked hard to take my L’s in stride; however, there were some days where being positive just wasn’t enough and I couldn’t help but be upset.

It was days when I pulled an all-nighter for the 4th day in a row because it was the third test of the week, on the same day as the group project that I had to present, only for me to open ELC to find out I failed the test from the day before, when I realized that I couldn’t take any more L’s in stride.

But what I came to terms with was that I had every right to be upset and go home to my gallon of cookie dough ice cream, Bob’s Burgers, and solitude! It felt good to just relish in feeling sorry for myself. But what I noticed was that I couldn’t stay stagnant in that mindset of focusing solely on the negative.

“So once more, I blasted Des’ree’s “You Gotta Be” and found that fire within me to once again take my L’s in stride.”

I have also learned to just stop and take in the moment. I feel like the hustle and bustle of our daily lives can be more exhausting than completing the actual tasks we must accomplish. You see, I was doing these amazing things but each day I was adding tasks to my never ending to-do list that I wasn’t basking in the moment.

Yes, it is great and almost expected in our day and age to keep yourself busy and keep that resume full of community service, leadership development, and enriching activities that make you look the part. But when you don’t take the time to note the amazing things you’ve accomplished it all becomes quite trivial.

When I finally took the time to stop and say “Wow, I am so proud of what I’ve accomplished,” my entire outlook on life became so much brighter.

I also learned that it was time to start doing things that made me proud of myself. I was involved in so many organizations and activities in the past but it they were never things that I was doing for myself. I was always doing something to appease my parents, to build on my resume, or just doing it because it was embedded in my routine. Now I won’t say that amazing things didn’t unfold as a result of all of this; however, I was not truly acknowledging them as accomplishments because I wasn’t doing it for me.

So, there were years of me going through the motions and feeling nothing. It wasn’t until this new transformation of myself did I realize the negative affects it was having on me as a person. Not involving myself in things that sparked passion in my eyes and lifted my demeanor was taking a toll on my inherent happiness and it was diminishing the small passions I had in the activities I was in.After I realized this trend I took the initiative to change it and I saw the benefits almost immediately!

“I can honestly say that taking the time to reevaluate my passions and finding organizations that made me feel like what I was doing had purpose was a pivotal part of my growth.”

I can honestly that I am coming into my own person and enjoying every moment of this journey of finding myself each and every day. It has been filled with L’s, lifelong lessons, severing of ties, expanding networks, and building a new foundation to stand on, but I wouldn’t trade the world for it.

I hope this testimony of growth may inspire you to note your own year of growth. I also want to take this around full circle to reflect on you, the reader! A moment must be taken to acknowledge the growth that has happened for YOU!

Yes we have all had some pretty treacherous days where the University has beaten us down to a pulp with no light at the end of the tunnel but still we rose. It may have taken some time but we have all collected ourselves and accomplished amazing things just in this year. People have made it to their colleges, received amazing internships, will be starting phenomenal jobs, have become a new brothers or sisters of organizations, received recognition for being a part of phenomenal organizations on campus, conducted riveting programs that made the student body really think, have received exec board positions that will continue a legacy for this campus … the list goes on and on!

“Do you see that, even after all of the trials and tribulations when we just packed our L’s up and slumped in a corner somewhere tweeting about our downfalls, we still found it within us to rise up to the occasion.”

For that in itself, I am taking the time to applaud you all now. You have done it and you have transformed into an amazing individual in the process.

Your transformation won’t look like your friends or what your parents envisioned but it is still a carving into the new mold you are creating for yourself. Whether that is the next teacher, engineer, business woman, business man, doctor, lawyer, musician, entrepreneur, analyst, columnist, or the plethora of other careers, it is YOU!

I am proud of myself and I am proud of all of you! So take a bow, smile from ear to ear, and go shout your successes aloud because you have done it! You have risen up to the occasion and next year is only another promise for more growth into the real you that you wish to become.

I am honored to call you all my peers and cheer you along through every success. Keep on keeping on my friends and just know you all have such bright futures ahead!

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