I never really felt old until these past few months when I found myself reflecting on many things I miss about my childhood, and I realized how many big events/moments I forgot about! As I started to write some of them down, I was remembered even more. So the best way to truly reflect is to write it all out. So not to bore you, but here is the story of my life up until this point.
I was born February 19th, 1997. I almost shared a birthday with my dad (his is Feb. 17th), but even fetus me was stubborn and wanted my own special day. My little (younger is probably the better word since he is nearly a foot taller than me) brother was born 4 years later. Growing up, there were times we got along like angels, and plenty of times where we were at each other’s throats. I hate to admit it, but a part of me has always been jealous of him because he was born with a natural talent that gave him a clear idea of what he wants to do with his future. I was never ‘exceptional’ at anything to give me that same guidance.
The Credo I created will help me stay on track to the career that I currently want to pursue. My Credo Map (as featured below) features three qualities that I strive to improve upon and apply to all areas of my social, academic, and professional life. I plan to work in Public Relations in the Entertainment/Sports Industry following graduation in just two short years, which is an extremely competitive, ever-changing industry. Without these three qualities, I have no chance of success.
Let’s start with Passion.
If you would’ve asked 5 year old me, or even 14 year old me, what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would’ve said a teacher. In elementary school, I would take home the extra worksheets and play ‘school’ with my friends and family. When I got to high school, I realized I wanted to do something more exciting. However, it is hard to come up with something to pursue off the top of your head if you do not have a special talent or prevalent interest. I reflected on all of my experiences and interests to try and narrow down what I could do. I had an appreciation for the arts due to my years of dance, town/school plays, choir, and concerts, but at the time, I did not consider a career involving any of that (besides being a dancer because I wanted to be on the Jets Flight Crew for a while, just like one of my dance instructors). I did not want my time obsessing over being a teacher to go to waste, so I decided to minor in Education, as a backup plan. It must mean something if I wanted to pursue that path for such a long period of time.
I was fortunate enough to have an extremely talented choir teacher in middle and high school. Not only did he have excellent ideas, but he was able to portray them even better. His name was known among many famous choir directors. Because of him, I was able to sing in Carnegie Hall twice, and at the Kennedy Center. Although choir was not something I wanted to continue with, those were experiences that I knew were special because not many people can say they have done. My teacher inspired me even more to find something to be passionate about and work as hard as I could. He was proof that hard work pays off.
The first concert I ever went to was Hilary Duff when I was in first grade. I was obsessed with her and wanted to be just like her. However, I did not have her talent so that dream died quickly. Over the years I have spent way more money than I should have on concert tickets. I always thought it would be so cool to have a job that allowed me to attend concerts or work with my favorite artists. This idea was reinforced after meeting some of my favorite bands. When I met One Direction and 5 Seconds of Summer, it was very brief and I wished I had more time with them. I was extremely spoiled when I met Emblem 3 because I was in the front row for sound check and got to hang out back stage with them for a bit before the show. I knew after that that I needed a career in which I could do things like that all the time (or at least have that as a perk).
Okay, here comes a bunch of pictures!
I played a bunch of different sports when I was little, but dance and cheerleading were the only two that really stuck. I played flag football, but couldn’t play for long because of my busy schedule. However, I did always enjoy watching it. My dad would take me to JETS games, and I was always at our high school games (even the ones I wasn’t cheering at), and my brother’s games. I go to all of the Rutgers games, and get mad when my friends become bored and do not want to stay until the end of a good game with me. The superbowl is like a holiday (mostly because of the food though). I think that this is why working for the NYJets is my top choice of career or internship if I choose to work in sports. Of course I like baseball and hockey as well, but football has always been a constant in my house.
Lojeski (2010) says, “Without colorful stories that reflect a sense of passion and drive, it would be difficult for others to be motivated enough to move goals forward”. Hopefully my passion will carry through when I talk about things I really care about, or exciting experiences (like those above).
Next is Innovation.
Society is different now than it was just five years ago, and in three years it will be different than it is now. That is why it is imperative that I am constantly trying new things. When I was younger, I danced on a competition team. My favorite routines were the ones that were unconventional, different than everything we’ve ever done, and pushed boundaries; those were also the routines that one the most awards. In cheerleading, we won a local competition for six consecutive years because our routines always consisted of advanced stunts and sequences that no one else was doing yet. It was not until we started competing at states that we realized our routines were not as original as we thought. Needless to say, we did not win either time.
Part of the reason I love being on multiple committees in my sorority is because I can utilize creativity to accomplish different tasks. However, my resume is unable to reflect many of these small ideas. This is where I fall behind in the internship competition because I have relatively nothing to represent my creativity on paper.
Intellectual stimulation is a characteristic of a transformation leader. These leaders promote new ideas, and serve as an agent of change (Lojeski 2010). I hope to be able to use my past experiences to spark new ideas from myself and others, and become a part of a successful organization.
Lastly, the most important element, is Confidence.
I was the shyest person growing up. I can still be pretty quiet, but now it is more by choice than habit. For some reason, I was never shy when it came to performing in front of strangers, yet I was when it came to speaking in front of people, even when it was people I knew. Ironically, the field I am going into is heavily centered on being able to talk to people. The inability to confidently express thoughts and ideas, and speak in front of others reflects a lack of competence.
I missed out on a lot of important opportunities and experiences because I was too reserved to express myself properly. For example, I did not get the first few leadership positions I ran for in high school and in my sorority because my shyness came off as a lack of confidence. Because of this, I am relatively behind compared to others looking to be in the same field. I can improve upon skills and flaws, but I cannot make up for missed time or lack of experience. I decided I could not let this interfere anymore because there is too much at stake. Now I do things without hesitation and approach it as if I have done it a million times, like making a four hour drive to another state (which would not have been such a big deal if I was not afraid of highway merges up until that point).
Lojeski (2010) says that extraversion is one of “the most important personality factors for traditional leadership”. Extraversion is characterized by assertiveness, optimism, an upbeat attitude, activism, and talkativeness. These are all things that a confident person exhibits naturally. I will have to incorporate these attributes to my life more frequently so it will feel natural, and seem authentic.
Even though Rutgers was not my first choice of colleges, I believe I have made the most of it, and it is shaping me into a person I never thought I would be. Part of this is due to the people I surround myself with, and how they encourage me to come out of my shell and try new things. All of my previous decisions and experiences have put me here, so I have to continue this uphill journey.