Hello and Happy New Year everyone!
I am so excited to share today’s post with you guys. This is a subject that has been on my mind for a very long time, but I only just found the right words for it. As you know, I just finished my second to last semester of college, and it was the toughest one yet. Earlier in the semester I severely injured my knee, and required surgery. As a result of this, I missed so much school that I spent the rest of the semester playing catch up. The work load just kept piling on, and the stress was almost too much to handle. Almost. But I am here to tell you that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I survived what has been the hardest year of my life, and I came out a much stronger person.
Below, I am going to share with you the three lessons I learned from my personal experiences of 2017, and how I grew as a result. I hope this will encourage you to look back on your year and focus on the things that grew you as a person. And if you feel like you didn’t achieve the level of growth you wanted, then work on it this upcoming year.
Disclaimer: I know what you are thinking. “Kendall, do you only shop at Old Navy?” The answer is…pretty much. I work there so I get a nice discount, but all of my opinions are honest and my own.
1) Don’t Be Afraid to Speak Up!
Whether it be in an office setting or within a friend group, you should never be afraid to voice your concerns and speak your mind. This was one of the biggest lessons I learned during my internship in New York. While working for a magazine, I had so many questions about the work behind the scenes. Why did we do the things we did? What affect did it have on the production? Who made those decisions, and what was the thought process behind them? I wanted to understand it all on a deeper level, and my superiors knew that. So when I asked these questions, they answered them. In fact, as the internship continued, they encouraged these learning sessions and enjoyed my enthusiasm towards my job. I understand this may not be the case in every situation, and that’s where the ability to discern whether your voice is appropriate in that setting comes in handy.
For example, if your friends are making plans without you and you feel left out, you should let them know. It may change nothing, or it may help them realize that they were leaving you out and hurting your feelings unintentionally. Or if you are applying for a job, it is good to be consistent when you check on the status of your application. You don’t have to do this everyday, in fact you definitely shouldn’t, but if you haven’t heard anything back for 10-12 days, it may be worth another call or email. No matter the scenario, you can make a lot more opportunities for yourself if you learn to speak up.
2) Achievement is Relative
Now this one may sound a bit weird, but let me explain. When I was unable to walk because of my knee injury, I felt helpless. I couldn’t do anything on my own. I was constantly having to ask for help from those around me. It was truly a humbling experience. And something I learned from this is that we need to celebrate the little things. When you are injured, or stressed, or having a rough day, the littlest things are achievements. Getting up out of bed and going to class. Getting a big project done early. Drinking enough water. All of these things are achievements, and should be celebrated. Not everyone is able to climb Mount Everest or run a marathon. And sometimes the simple act of getting out of bed, can feel as big as Everest.
3) I am Stronger Than I Think
If there is one thing this year has taught me, it is this. I am so much stronger than I ever thought I was. In 2017, I moved to New York on my own to pursue my dream internship. I lived in the big city for about three months and I loved every minute of it. I survived a surgery, which five months ago I never would have imagined I could do. I am terrified of needles, a fear which did everything it could to prevent me from going through with the surgery. But with the help and strength of those I love, I was able to overcome this fear. Not only did I go through with the surgery, but I also worked hard in physical therapy for weeks to get my mobility and strength back. After all of that, I had to put my nose to the grindstone and work hard to catch back up on all that I missed, while also getting my grades up.
At the beginning of the year, I never could have imagined that I would be able to face all of the things that were thrown at me this year. But by the grace of God, the love of my family, and my own personal growth, I was able to get through 2017. I only hope that this post allowed you to reflect on your year in a positive way, and to look back on all the ways you grew. I wish you all a Happy New Year and I hope that 2018 is filled with even more growth and happiness for the both of us.