inspiration

You can’t leave every battle victorious but you can leave with something

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Whether you’re applying for a scholarship to study abroad, a job at a new company, or a position within a club or organization, the truth is you won’t always win. Yes, this advice sounds familiar since we’ve all heard it before but this is a positive friendly reminder that even though the results may not end in our favor, we’ll always leave with one thing: experience 🙂

Last week, I experienced rejection and was reminded of this lesson.

Near the end of February, I applied to a prestigious club for seniors devoted to preserving the welfare of my university. As expected, the process was an arduous one. On Thursday last week, they announced the 13 members selected for next year. Mine wasn’t one of them.

I left that evening feeling frustrated and disappointed. I thought everything had gone well. I thought I had a chance! I thought I would leave with that triumphant feeling one feels after battling for five thousand kilometers to cross the finish line before the other runners. Instead, I felt empty.

But then pace of my black dress shoes slowed as if they saw a red sign approaching. I stopped.

I thought to myself, “Wait, a second. I may not be leaving as a new member for next year but I am leaving with something and that something is experience.”

Thanks to this process, I now have more experience writing a personal statement, being interviewed, specifically by 13 people at once, mixing with other applicants and getting to know people. All of this experience will prepare for the next position or job or scholarship that I apply for in the future. It’s all about taking risks and learning from your mistakes!

The next time you consider applying for a job, a scholarship or to a club or organization, don’t hesitate and go for it! Even if the chances are against you and you don’t end up winning the battle, you won’t leave empty handed 🙂

One Young World and Under 20 Summit- Two amazing leadership conferences to check out

Last week, I was checking out other blog posts on Students Gone Global and learned about an awesome leadership conference called One Young World, which is a “UK-based not-for-profit that gathers together the brightest young people from around the world, empowering them to make lasting connections to create positive change.” I watched the film for last year’s conference and it just sounds amazing.

I wanted to share it because you can apply now to attend this year’s conference which will be held in Dublin, Ireland from October 15 to the 19th. Unfortunately, the cost of the event is around $4,500 plus tax, which is a little hefty, especially for a college student. The good thing- there are tons of scholarships out there that may be used to fund you to go!

The other conference I want to mention is the Under 20 Summit conference. The conference is put on twice a year-once in San Francisco and once in New York and it’s put on by the Thiel Fellowship. The Thiel Fellowship is a fellowship for under-20 adolescents who are motivated and ambitious and want to change the world. They’re” given a no-strings-attached grant of $100,000 to skip college and focus on their work, their research, and their self-education.” Even though the fellowship is for students under-20, the conference is open to all ages and it’s free! As long as you pay for yourself to travel to San Francisco or New York,  the conference itself is free to attend.

I found out about it last summer while interning in San Francisco. I met someone in my hostel who was attending and she invited me to go. At the conference, I met hundreds of young, bright individuals with ambitions of changing the world. I also heard from many inspiring and motivating speakers and had a wonderful experience overall. I would definitely encourage attending the conference if you have the opportunity.

Well, that’s it for today’s post! Hopefully this is new and helpful information to you! Thanks for reading!

P.S.- if you’re from Arizona, help support computer science education and take two minutes to send a message to the senator by filling out this form here! If the bill passes, computer science will count as a high school math course!

Credit to Ellen for sharing about One Young World on her blog post 

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Be the blue umbrella that you are and smile

Last night, I saw Monsters University with a few friends and one of the films included in the previews was a short film by Pixar titled ‘The Blue Umbrella’ which was one of the most creative short films ever! The story is about a blue umbrella and a red umbrella that fall in love.

I would love to be able to share the entire short film but I think you can only see it in the previews before Monsters University. Basically, everything- the mailbox, the walk-sign, the sidewalk- has a face and is an animate object in the short. As the blue umbrella, who is cheery and smiling for being alive, travels in the hands of his owner down the street along with tens of other umbrellas, everything smiles as a result of him smiling.

If the author meant to include any lessons or messages for the audience, I would infer that these are them:

Smiling is contagious- if you smile at a stranger, chances are he or she will smile back at you! Most people would probably say they already know this but I think more of us could do it, including myself. What’s the worst that could happen? The person doesn’t smile, we feel awkward and quickly look away and then laugh quietly to ourselves and say, “Well…At least I tried!”

Be yourself– the blue umbrella sticks out from the rest because he is acting himself. He’s not trying to mirror the black umbrellas who are boring and act like the next umbrella to avoid being different. Instead, he curiously looks around and ends up seeing another umbrella, who is red and enjoying the feeling of rain on her face. As a result of him not focusing on conforming to the social umbrella norm, he is able to notice life, enjoy it, and even meet a lovely red umbrella 🙂

Now, I could be completely wrong about the message of this short film but this is how I interpreted it and I only wanted to share my thoughts with you because I loved this short film and thought it had meaning worth sharing.

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If you saw the film, how’d you interpret it? If you didn’t, what did you interpret from the 30 second clip?

Forgetting to explore the beautiful corral already around you

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Tomorrow will be two weeks since I blindfolded my girlfriend and brought her to the Sea Life Aquarium at Arizona Mills mall. A week before that I didn’t even know we had an aquarium here in Arizona. I found out about it on Tripadvisor while researching fun activities to do in Arizona.

I feel like this is normal. It’s normal for us locals to not know the touristic places of our home town or home city because we’re so set on the idea of “visiting the Eiffel Tower,” “eating pizza in Italy,” “snorkeling in Hawaii,” or “walking the streets of New York.” We never put on our tourist shoes or to explore our native places. We’re too obsessed with the idea of getting away. Going somewhere else. Somewhere that is as far away as possible.

I used to be the same way. I thought “Gosh, I REALLY want to visit Spain and Italy and backpack through Europe” and I did. But I have yet to visit the East Coast. Doesn’t that seem odd to you? I have traveled to a place over 5,000 miles away yet I’ve never traveled to one of the most popular places in my home country: New York City.

I never thought twice about this until I was talking to my friend Lenon one day while eating lunch and he asked me, “What is there to do in your home city? What should I do when I go visit there?” 

As a member of the Phoenix community for over 19 years, I couldn’t think of anything to tell him besides, “You should climb Camelback Mountain or hike the Phoenix Mountain Preserve.” I honestly couldn’t think of anything else that might be interesting to a college student from another country. That’s when the epiphany hit me and I thought to myself, “Wow. I don’t even know what I would visit in Phoenix if I were a tourist. That’s because I don’t even know Phoenix, or even Arizona, myself and I’ve lived here my whole life!” After that light bulb lit up in my head, I made it a goal to explore my home town more during the summer and doing the school year. And that’s exactly what I’ve started to do. The first place was the aquarium and the next places on my list include Havasupai Falls, Cathedral Rock, and many others.

I chose to share this story with you to make you stop and think: How well do I know the ins and outs of my hometown? What would I recommend to tourists looking for things to do?

Feel free to share your thoughts below and any places you recommend visiting in your hometown! 🙂

 

Leaving a Legacy at the University of Arizona

I’m writing this week’s post in English because it’s something I want to share with everyone(a próxima semana, vou regressar a português 😉 ). I know I already posted a picture of this one Facebook but there is a fascinating story behind it that I would like to share with you.

After the second week of school or so during freshman year, I decided to buy a Moleskin journal to write down my thoughts and ideas. I was just beginning a new chapter in life and my brain couldn’t handle it all. I needed to write things down and let my ideas flow from my mind onto paper.

I ordered a journal off of Amazon and received it shortly(thanks to my free two-day shipping trial) that week. I began writing random figments as the week progressed. Then, five days after I had received my journal, I wrote something that I had completely forgotten about until last weekend when I was skimming through my journal entries.

This is what I wrote this on August 29th, 2013.

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Now you’re probably wondering, “Okay. What’s the big deal? You thought something big was coming your way and you said you wanted to leave a legacy- I don’t get it?”

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The reason that this is so crazyis  because of what happened exactly one week ago from today- I received the The Honors College Outstanding Freshman of the Year award from the University of Arizona’s Honors College as.

I couldn’t believe it! My thoughts from the beginning of the semester had become more than just thoughts- they had become real life!

I remember the exact feeling I had had in those moments during the start of school. I was excited, nervous, happy, and scared-all at the same time. I wanted to do something great and leave a legacy here but I had no idea how I would go about it.

Around the end of March/the beginning of April, I found out about this award and I knew I wanted it.

I was at the Slonaker House(the Honors College house) for an Honors College Ambassadors overnight visit when I happened to notice the plaques on the wall with names and the words written “HONORS COLLEGE OUTSTANDING FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR.” The dean of the Honors College was standing right next to me so I gathered up the nerve and asked,

“How do you even win that kind of award?”

“Well, each year we ask professors to nominate students for the award by submitting a letter of recommendation. This year, however, we didn’t receive as many nominations as we would have liked to so we’ve extended the deadline till next Friday. If you’d like, you can ask a professor to nominate you but they must submit a letter of recommendation.”

My eyes lite up because I knew exactly who I planned on asking: Melissa Fitch(Profa)- one of my favorite professors at the university and one of the professors who had just written me a recommendation letter for my study abroad program in Buenos Aires, Argentina. I knew I only had a week for her to submit the letter and I knew she was super busy so I made sure to email her as soon as I arrived at my dorm.

Luckily, she liked me and found time to submit the letter of recommendation before the deadline. I received the email notifying me of my nomination that same weekend and I was then invited to write an essay explaining how my academic and social work embodied the Honors College mission statement.

At first, I felt like I was cheating since I had asked a professor to nominate me, but then I reminded myself that:

a. the Dean suggested that I ask a professor to nominate me

b. the professor could have said no

c. I still have to write the best essay to win

I decided to accept the invitation and write an essay for the award. I struggled at first because the prompt was semi-vague and I wasn’t sure what I was going to write. I had only a week to write it. I wrote an outline and emailed it to Susan Kaleita, a staff member at the Honors College,  and my mom, who helped me flush out my ideas and write the award-winning essay that I wrote, which you can read here. I worked really hard on the essay and I am proud of the outcome. Writing it made me want to write a book about my backpacking experiences in Europe because it was so amazing what happened during my travels. It was troublesome choosing only one experience to write about.

Now, I have the plaque that I posted a picture of above AND my name will go on a plaque in Slonaker and will be there forever. Hence, I have created a legacy for myself here at the University of Arizona and fulfilled what I had originally written in my journal at the beginning of the year 🙂

I wanted to share this with you today because I still cannot fathom the fact that I wrote about this at the very beginning of the year and it came true! I took advantage of the opportunity presented before me and this is what happened.

A little side-note I want to add that puts the cherry on top of this cake-I was rejected by the Honors College when I first applied my senior year in high school. That’s right REJECTED. Maybe it’s because I didn’t have high test scores? Who knows! But hey- that didn’t stop me. I reapplied and went through the Freshman Review process to make certain that I got in. I was constantly emailing Sara Dorer, an Honors College Recruitment and Outreach counselor, to ensure my admission into the Honors College the second time around. However, thanks to her assistance and Bill Kimsey’s recommendation letter, they finally accepted me.

The main point of this blog post is to inspire you to never give up, pursue your dreams, and most importantly, to believe in yourself. I did all of these things and look what happened. Of course you’re going to fail multiple times in life, but you can’t give up! If you persevere  and take advantage of every opportunity presented to you, then you’re going to succeed. Keep a positive mental attitude and good things will come your way.