Seemingly small decisions can shape your life in ways you couldn’t imagine.
When you look back over your life, you often find there are people or experiences that have influenced you or made you who you are today. There are always explanations as to why people act the way they do, and often it’s because of experiences they’ve had in their life.
Maybe it’s a person, a trip, an experience, or a big event that has helped shape them. Other times it’s something of a bad experience that they’ve turned into a lesson.
For me, the three things from my past that have influenced me the most are the death of my grandpa, my decision to join the Advance-Titan student newspaper, and my decision to attend the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh.
Unfortunately, I didn’t realize this to the extent I do now until after he passed, but my grandpa was a huge influence on me and who I am today. He was such a kind soul who always, ALWAYS put everyone’s needs above his own. He was compassionate, funny, smart, and always had something nice to say. He always tried to stay positive, even through his battle with cancer that eventually won.
It is his character and the way that he lived his life that has made me want to be a better person as well. He always told me that I was the prettiest, smartest young lady in the world. I always thought that it was nice to hear, but I never really took it to heart. Now, I realize that he was telling me how much he loved me.
I aspire to wear my emotions on my sleeve like that and always tell the ones I love how much I care.
Although his death was extremely difficult, and I am still processing and dealing with the fact that he’s gone, I know that if I live my life the way he would have wanted, I can carry a little piece of him with me every day.
I joined the Advance-Titan newspaper on a whim, to be honest. I had just declared my major (journalism) and was in my first writing class when the professor made an announcement about joining the paper. I thought, “Hey, I might as well check it out.” I fell in love. The instant I got my first story assignment I grew nervous, anxious, excited, and petrified all at the same time. Then I realized, this is the most alive I’ve ever felt. I was involved with the paper for about two-and-a-half years total, which then led me to get an internship at Women Magazine in Appleton. That internship led me to where I currently am, at the Oshkosh Northwestern newspaper. I do some writing and am hoping to get a full-time job as a reporter somewhere at a daily newspaper. But without my involvement in the Advance-Titan, I never would have realized that this is exactly what I want to be doing the rest of my life, and I know that is a feeling to cherish.
I knew three people from my graduating class of about 500 that were also attending UW Oshkosh, which was honestly one of the reasons I chose to go here. I wanted a fresh start, and I wanted to make a name for myself. I wanted to learn to break out of my shell and start a new reputation, rather than the goody-goody wallflower. It was at UW Oshkosh that I grew up. I learned what it REALLY meant to be responsible for myself. I learned how to cultivate relationships and how to determine if I should end relationships. I learned that it’s OK if everyone doesn’t like me. I learned how I work and when I work best. I learned to multi-task. I learned that I have a fantastic work ethic. I learned that my family will always be there for me, even if I’m 90 miles away. I learned how to really be comfortable being alone. I also met some of my closest friends to this day, including my wonderful boyfriend. I know that if I had chosen to go anywhere else, I may have had some of the same experiences, but I am happy that I chose UWO because I think that this school and the opportunities I was afforded here made me the person I am today.
What are some of the experiences you’ve had that have influenced your life today?