By Jen Monroe ’18, University of Mary Washington business major
The clock is ticking away.
The nerves start to set in.
And I realize that in less than two weeks I will set foot on-stage and accept my diploma; my college degree and become an alumna of the University of Mary Washington.
At this point in my life, I think back to every time I transitioned to a new chapter. I laugh a little. I can remember feeling as if each moment seemed like it was the end of the world. Any positive moment, any obstacle I faced then has shaped me to be who I am now and who I am determined to become.
So, what’s next? – The beginning of a new chapter.
Sometimes it is incredibly hard to say goodbye to one chapter to make room for another one. Whether they come along every few months or every few years, our life stories are filled with these moments. And each time we begin a new chapter, we are given an opportunity to start fresh, see things in a different way, and make our life turn out the way we want it to.
Many of us find it difficult to move on because of an inability to let go of the ways things were. It may feel impossible to say goodbye to one chapter. But also, impossible to not say hello to a new one. At the end of the day, you have sit down and ask yourself what is important to you. Are you making excuses for yourself because you’re afraid? What are the pros? What are the cons? What can you learn? What are your risks? Is this affecting anyone else in your life?
Through my coursework, I learned a lot about accepting change, accepting fear of the unknown and embracing uncomfortable situations. I can whole heartedly say that I used to be an individual who absolutely hated change. I enjoyed doing things my way and I enjoyed my scheduled routine. I learned that great leaders put themselves in uncomfortable situations so that they can take advantage of the opportunity to learn and grow. I learned that “to live is to experience failure.” I was able to identify the benefits and positive outcomes that come with change. And I learned that along the way it is okay to make mistakes because that’s where all my learning opportunities will come from.
My mom taught me so many things growing up: how to respect not only myself but others, how to cook, how to be a good person and how to give back. But, the biggest lesson she has taught me is the value of a great work ethic.
When you grow up with a mother who works hard, it inspires you. It teaches you to lead by example. It teaches you a fundamental life lesson: you can achieve anything you want to. My supermom is the mother to not only me, but my triplet siblings. She has worked her entire life and has worked even harder to take care of her family. By watching my mom work as hard as she did, I developed the ultimate work ethic, commitment and desire to achieve and excel.
If you’re smart, honest and hard-working, you can choose any career path you want. And as a female soon entering the business world, I look forward to supporting women at all levels of an organization.