Monday, March 21, 2011

"I Believe I Can Fly..."

I just got back from a conference in San Francisco and it was an incredible experience. You can find all of the inspiration I gathered from this conference when it comes to community college students figuring out what they want to do with their lives in the extra post-conference vlog below. I didn’t think I was going to have time to post a full blog/vlog with the back to back traveling I’m doing this weekend, but I had to give you something.   

So in addition to all of the inspiration I also gained  newfound confidence from traveling by myself. For those of you who have traveled by yourself since you were young this may not apply. But for me I had never even been on an airplane until I was 19. And all my trips since then have been with groups of people.

I am from Florida and have a terrible sense of spatial understanding, so public transportation has always alluded me. In past travels (e.g. England) I relied on my friends to navigate while I followed.

It was my turn to navigate by myself this weekend and it was empowering. To understand, I am someone who used to look at people who traveled alone as amazing independent individuals. I used to think wow, how do they figure all of that out? It seemed so foreign to me.

And now I know. And I feel like I could do anything and go anywhere.

Have you had that “I can do anything” moment in your life? Have you felt that unique sense of independence that reminds you that you and only you are in control of the direction you are going? We often greatly overestimate the power of others to pull us in various directions. When in reality, it is only that we choose to follow.

In community college it can be hard sometimes to gain that sense of independence as many students live with their parents in order to save money. I encourage you to consider transferring to a college where you live in a dorm after you graduate. Start saving up money and applying for scholarships so you can afford to live on campus – it is more possible than you think.

And for now, try going on trips or doing things on your own. I’ll never forget my very first day in community college my western civilization professor gave us all a 5 minute speech on why we all needed to take a weekend and go to England as college students. He said we should just buy a ticket, stay in cheap hostels, and travel around in the inexpensive trains.

I know it all sounds painfully cliché, and in some ways it is, but in other ways, I think those independent excursions of travel and exploration breed new confidence and inspiration. Sometimes things become cliché because they are just good.

So start thinking about ways you can carve out some independence for yourself, such as planning a road trip with friends this summer, or booking a ticket and staying in English hostels this weekend. 

Always remember you are  in charge of your direction. The question is - do you know where you are going? 

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