Each year, I learn so much about myself, my relationships, and life in general from the experiences I have, and 2016 was no exception. We have a chance to learn and grow every single day, so the challenge is accepting that opportunity to grow and to keep it all with us on our life journeys. I learned a lot this past year about myself through my roles on teams and in my college life, and I grew significantly from my relationships with others. Here are some examples of what I’ve learned, and hopefully some of them resonate with you or give you a little bit of insight.
In relationships with others (friendships, family, etc.):
- No one can read your mind. If you feel a certain way, tell someone. Otherwise, don’t expect a person to know how you feel or what something means to you.
- We don’t communicate with each other to be “heard.” We need to communicate to be understood. Listening can be hard, but understanding someone and a situation is usually more important than simply voicing your opinion.
- It’s the coolest thing in the world when you are so close to someone and he/she cares so much about you that they want to know how your day was. And they mean it, they call you to hear about it, and they’re invested in you even with hundreds or thousands of miles separating you. That’s when you know it’s a relationship you can’t let go of.
- You’re not bigger or better than anyone. But it is your job to make people feel valued, and if your actions and words aren’t doing that, then it’s time to change.
- It’s all about perspective. You may be offended by something that someone else may not even think twice about. There’s nothing wrong with it, just try to understand where they’re coming from and how they see things.
- Balancing making new friends and keeping up with old friends is difficult. Sending simple text messages or giving random phone calls to friends you haven’t spoken to in a while goes a long way. Remind people you care about them. Nothing but good can come out of that.
Living with ourselves:
- Don’t always think about the end goal or next thing. Be present and in the moment. Allow things to go somewhere you didn’t expect them to, but react with positivity. Remember to let things flow and to have fun along the way. Connect to your purpose. It’ll pay off.
- It’s essential to admit that you’re wrong when you are. We as humans cannot always be right, so be humble and accept that we cannot always know everything.
- We aren’t perfect, and we’re not supposed to be. If we try to fulfill others’ expectations after graduation, in our relationships, and anywhere else in our lives, we’ll never be happy or complete. Live your life for yourself, your passions, and serving others.
- It’s okay to let go of things and people that aren’t making your life better. You can’t be everything to everyone, so do your best and be there for people who really matter to you.
- It’s always essential to accept where you are in order to grow. At Agriculture Future of America, we call it “intrapreneurialism,” which means blooming where you’re planted. Take advantage of the opportunities in front of you and make the most of where you’re at. All it takes is a little bit of motivation and drive and you’ll be headed to a stronger future.
- Sometimes you may not understand why something is happening in your life, or what to do next, and that’s okay. You’ve just got to trust that it’s all happening for a reason and that there’s a greater plan to it all. Have patience and believe. If it’s a really tough season you’re going through, find the good in every day and in every situation, especially in the difficulty.
In this thing we call “life”:
- Honesty can be painful in the short-term, but it saves you in the long-term.
- If you have something to say, say it. But make sure you can back up what you say with facts, actions, etc.
- Just because there isn’t a title for your role doesn’t mean you don’t have one. Everything is what you make of it.
- The only way to conquer your fears is to do something you’re scared of. And when you do, you won’t regret that you tried.
This year has enabled me to travel a lot, and from those trips I’ve learned that we never know what’s going to happen or what someone is going through. It opened my eyes to see how beautiful life is because we’re not perfect, and that’s why every day is so exciting and different. I also believe that we are not alone on this planet for a reason, and I think it’s a wonderful gift that we can grow with and learn from one another.
My hope is that in 2017 I’m able to fully love on the people around me and who mean so much to me as I finish my days at Virginia Tech. I don’t want to miss an opportunity to laugh with, listen to, or adventure with a friend in this last semester in Blacksburg, and I’m excited to see where this change in life after graduation takes me. I’m not sure where I’ll be or what I’ll be doing after I finish up at Virginia Tech, but I do know that I’ll carry an open mind and heart with me and trust God’s plan for wherever I end up.
I encourage you to look at 2016 with a reflective lens and to consider how you’ve grown. No matter how difficult the year may have seemed, remember that we need to grow through the lows to delight in the highs. Think about what you’d like to see in 2017 and make a goal for you to work on every day. Mine is wholeheartedly loving others and saying “yes” to those I love. What’s yours going to be?
Thanks for being a part of my 2016 and for making it a tremendous year for me. Let’s make 2017 the best one yet 🙂