Monday, June 27, 2011

The #1 Energy Drink to Get You Through College

I kind of think I’ve found a secret energy drink to help you complete your college degree – pass those rough classes, stop procrastinating, prioritize, and make the time to study.

It will help you choose the right classes, find the right major, and create a memorable and enjoyable college experience. Side effects may include graduating with a high GPA and a huge dose of confidence and contentment.

I think I can make millions with this new energy drink. If only I could bottle it.

But alas, the recipe is much more complicated, and each drink is unique to the individual. I’ve tasted it here and there, and for the most part it is what got me through college. But I’m finding you need these energy drinks throughout your whole life.

Because sometimes life can be draining.

This energy drink has been a huge part of my life. But I didn’t really understand it’s definition, have never been able to pinpoint its source, its properties, or its recipe until this week.

This week I spoke at the Hope CommUnity Center – a center that supports immigrant farm workers and their children, especially through English classes and a college access program -- and I felt like my heart was on fire.

My eyes watered when the organizers were talking about the upcoming adventures and college visits they were going to take the teens on in the next few months.

I got chills when I saw the group of high school students sitting patiently, there to learn, there to grow, there to succeed. There to care.

And when I spoke and I saw their eyes, some of their tears, and saw a few taking notes, I realized why my heart was set on fire when I walked in that building. I realized what drove so much of my life. 

I finally understood the energy drink that fueled my collegiate accomplishments. It was this feeling. It was being amidst something I cared about, something I believed in, and getting the opportunity to do something I loved doing.

I felt like I was contributing. And nothing can compare to that kind of energy.

I cannot fully express the inspiration I gleamed from my experience. But what I do know is that on the drive back I felt a new sense of renewed energy, life, motivation, thrill, and excitement that I hadn’t felt in a while.

It was so strong that I actually cried. It was a happy cry I’ve never really known before. It was this deep sense of finding something that truly lit me on fire. 

And from there an entire storm of creativity, emotion, and joy erupted. And what did I do with that energy? Change the world? Start a non-profit? Hug strangers?

Nope. I cleaned my apartment. I took out the trash. I unloaded the dishwasher. I finished reading a book. I made some tea.

I did the things that often get lost when I’m feeling drained of energy. And it felt fantastic.

And unlike the typical energy drinks this high did not go away after a few hours. I have drawn energy from this experience to help me through a myriad of tasks that I often cannot find the motivation for.

Because this is the kind of energy drink that moves you. The kind that really fuels you. The kind that makes that hard math class not seem so bad – because you know you want an A in math so you can move forward and get the degree that will help you do something that sets your heart on fire.

You will want to chase that feeling, and it will give you energy to get through the hard stuff.

I figured all this out when the teenage boy taking the most furious notes asked me “how do you stay motivated?” I had never been asked this before and it really made me think.

But oddly enough the answer came as surely as water comes when you turn on the faucet.

“This is what keeps me motivated. Seeing people like you who care. Seeing people like you who take notes and ask questions and want to move forward and make something of your lives. Moments like this are what set my heart ablaze and keep me going.”

Keep searching for your energy drink. Feel free to play with the recipe. Feel free to switch brands and flavors. Explore. Notice how it fuels or drains you. And when you find it, don’t apologize for it. It can be anything. The only criteria is that it energizes you.

And never - ever - settle for anything artificial.

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