As my freshman year of college comes to a bittersweet end, I’ve done a lot of reflecting and thinking. This year has been a hell of a ride and I wouldn’t take back any of it. Nope, not even the bad.
As my mom always says, “never regret anything. If you regret every little decision you make, you’ll live a sad life.” And I couldn’t agree more. I loved every single moment of this year and it will forever be etched in my memory.
But, this post isn’t about how great my freshman year was and all my memories and lessons (but I guess it could be). It is about every single person that made a difference in my life, every single person that has helped me become who I am today. From birth till this exact moment, the people I have met and encountered deserve a HUGE thank you. Which is exactly what I am going to give to them.
My college “squad” calls people our heroes. And although it’s usually just done to be ironic, I have met a few people throughout my life that truly are my heroes and continue to inspire me to this day.
First of all, my parents. I mean, they are the ones that have been there for me through thick and thin and no matter how badly I treat them (I’m so sorry for my bratty teenage self) they still help me and love me unconditionally. From the random day trips with my dad, to the late night talks with my mom, I could never have gotten to where I am today without them. My dad came to the USA for his grad school (on a full scholarship!), earned a PhD, and then continued his education, earning an MBA on top of that. He is one of the most hardworking people I know, and being the breadwinner of my household, he puts in so much time and effort to make sure everyone is well taken care of. All those late nights and early mornings, it was to make sure we were fed, clothed, and happy. I do think I take after my dad in many ways, but I have yet to reach the level of drive he has. Every single day he tries to learn new things, and pushes himself harder to be a better leader and person. I honestly don’t tell him this enough, but he is an inspiration to me and I hope I can be half as successful as him one day. Then, there is my mom. She is one of the most kind, intelligent, caring, selfless, modest, humble, loving, and surprisingly sassy people I know. To say I’m grateful that she’s my mom is a gross understatement. Although my mom is a stay at home mom, she is still one of the hardest working people I know. She grew up reading, learning and striving to be the best version of herself that she could be and she still tries to fulfill that to this day. She’s been through so much in her life, and I can’t believe the amount of crap she has had to go through, but I’m so thankful that she made it and is there to protect me and teach me. Without my mom, I’d quite literally be lost. Not only does she have a great sense of direction geographically, but she also has a great sense of direction in life. My mom has always known exactly where I’d end up, and every time I tell her about a potential career plan, she just nods, listens and occasionally throws in a sassy comment. But she knows exactly where I should be, how I should get there and what to do when I do find my way. She just isn’t telling me and doing this dumb thing called, ‘figure it out yourself, I’m just here for support.’ Every single piece of advice she’s given me has stuck with me forever. She is my best friend, my confidante and mentor, everything she does and stands for inspires me constantly. I hope that one day I can make both of them proud, just like they make me proud to call them my parents. I love you guys so much.
Parents are the first heroes in your life, they raise you, bathe you, feed you, change your diapers, love you (even if you throw up and drool on them) and make sure you’re always happy. But, there are also other adults in your life that change you, feed you and help you grow. Sure, they might not change your diapers, but they change your attitude. They don’t feed you food, but they feed you knowledge. And their entire job is to help you grow. Yup, that’s right, I’m talking about teachers. I’ve had so many wonderful, inspiring teachers growing up, but two teachers in my middle school years, really changed my life. Their names, Ms. Allison Zak and Mr. Rob Hahn. Ms. Zak was my 7th grade geography teacher and my 8th grade history teacher. However, in those two years of being my academic teacher, she somehow also became my life teacher. Ms. Zak was the definition of fun and cool. She would teach her classes with such spunk and vigor that there was never a boring day or lesson. I don’t remember ever getting more excited about the U.S constitution than when I was in her class. Middle school was a rough time for me, I was growing, changing and my peers weren’t the kindest. So, I did what any other socially awkward, bullied child would do, I drowned myself in school work. I still remember walking into Ms. Zak’s classroom and just breathing a sigh of relief, because it was my safe place. It was a place that I didn’t have to worry about life and I could just sit, learn about some really cool things, and watch my favorite teacher run and jump around the classroom (in heels… still don’t know how she does it) talking to us about topics most other kids couldn’t care less about. I strived to be everything she was, cool, intelligent, spunky, fashionable, kind and the list goes on. Favorite teacher does not even begin to describe her. She still continues to be an inspiration to me and I hope she knows how much I look up to her. Thank you Ms. Zak, you truly were a blessing. I hope I have made you proud. A year before I had Ms. Zak, I had another teacher named Mr. Hahn. He was my 6th grade choir teacher and man oh man, was he amazing. As a 6th grader, I had never met anyone who was so passionate about music and was so funny at 7 in the morning. He is one of the reasons I stuck with choir for so long, and even though I’m not pursuing a music career, he taught me so much more than how to read notes on a page. In 6th grade, he was only my teacher a few times and it wasn’t until my freshman year of high school that I really got to get to know him as a teacher and as a mentor. In high school, choir became my safe place. Choir was where I could unwind, forget about my stress and just do what I loved, sing. He was the cool, down to earth choir director everyone wanted. He was extremely intelligent and talented, using those skills to bring out the best in each of us. It wasn’t until later in my high school career that we started to interact more. I don’t think he even realized it, but he started to become a mentor to me. Somebody that I looked up to, somebody that I wished to be like, somebody that I wanted to make proud. He still is that person to me and now, after I have graduated high school, he still continues to inspire me constantly. And for that, Mr. Hahn, I must thank you. I hope I am living up to your expectations and making you proud.
I’d also like to talk about all of the wonderful people I get to call my friends (you know who you are). Be it my college squad, or my high school buddies, my friends have been a rock in my life. Every single one of them has taught me something different and helped me grow, develop and change as a person. I’m beyond thankful and grateful for every single friend I have made in my life. Even if they weren’t all good friends, each one taught me something different. And I couldn’t be happier that they were in my life. Thank you to everyone that touched my life, was/ is my friend and I just want to say, y’all are amazing.
These are just a few of the people that continue to inspire me every single day and I couldn’t be more thankful to them. Not only do your experiences shape you as a person,but so do the people you meet.Everyone has a hero, and an important thing to do is to step back and find that person (or people) for you. Thank them, tell them how much they influenced you and it will help you grow immensely. I hope one day I can be as inspiring to others as my heroes are to me.
Till next time,