A life changing experience doesn’t necessarily have to be a mind-blowing, once in a lifetime experience that inevitably becomes the inspiration for a best-selling novel or made-for-TV movie (but wouldn’t it be nice if it did?). As a matter of fact, a life changing experience could be as small as having a two and a half minute conversation with a stranger on the street.
At the tender age of almost 22, I have experienced a few life changing experiences from various ends of the spectrum of life—from romantic relationships, to school, and traveling—and I have found that each of these life changing experiences served, and still serve, as motivators for many of the goals I have today. It took being in a poisonous relationship to make me focus on the beneficial and positive relationships I have in my life, and from there to create the goal to continue to nurture those healthy relationships, while letting the unhealthy ones disintegrate. When I began being conscious of the people I allow to be in my life, I noticed a change in how positive my actions and thoughts were, and as a result how more positive my life became.
Traveling abroad last summer for the first time was not only a dream come true, but it brought to my attention just how massive the world is and how different and yet similar people are. I remember the first thing I said to my mom after a day of being in Cambridge was “You never know how American you are until you leave,” and I was amazed in major part by the small, seemingly insignificant differences that actually made all the difference in the world. Much like hormones in the body where a small change can cause a huge reaction, that’s how big of a difference those nuances were to me. Fortunately, I loved the differences, and being abroad awakened my curiosity even more to explore all parts of the world; however, I don’t want to only visit these places, but participate in the culture, interact with the people, learn and actually feel small in the grand scheme of things. I want to exercise my mind and keep opening it and broadening it so that I can truly embrace all of humanity and not just what I know or what I am accustomed to. From my brief, month long abroad trip, my desire to teach English abroad was strengthened, and it definitely became one of my top options for what I will do in the first couple years of my post-grad life.
As for college, I think for everyone different aspects of undergrad serve to be life-changing experiences, but for me the one that comes to mind is the academics. School was never a challenge for me until I started attending college, which is unsurprising, but in my first year it was really discouraging. I did not know how to study because I never had to, and being surrounded by students who were used to the type of work we were doing where I was not made me feel unintelligent and subpar. My freshmen year was not the greatest, but every year thereafter I have proved to myself that I was meant to be at the university as much as any other student. Struggling academically taught me failure was okay because I could work my ass off and make a comeback and do better than the goals I set for myself. Going from academic warning one semester to dean’s list in subsequent semesters showed me a side of myself that I honestly did not know I had, and it has driven me to never doubt myself or my abilities. My undergrad experience, as far as my academics, has prepped me for many of the goals I have set for myself and is the reason I am so goal-oriented today. I truly know that I am capable of doing what I put my mind to, and I will carry that with me in everything I attempt to accomplish from hereafter.
A life-changing experience is just that: it is an experience that either directly changes your life or your perspective on life, and whether the experience was a negative or positive one, why shouldn’t the outcome always be positive? These experiences, no matter how big or small, can be significant motivators in creating the life you ideally want, so let them be that.
What life-changing experiences have motivated you to go after your goals? Comment below!