I’ve had some interesting turns of events in recent weeks. I’ve gotten involved in some really cool projects and really put my heart into doing them. There’s my senior project class for my Civil Engineering degree where we are designing a real replacement pedestrian bridge for a local national park. There’s this EPA contest my Environmental Geology class is doing where we are managing Stormwater in a green way. For my French senior capstone, I am traveling to Africa with Engineers Without Borders to study French, implement a well, and serve as a translator before returning to make a presentation on communication and the different barriers in language for tradition differences to education separation. Finally, I am working on a research project with a focus on tribal economic development using green energy. I’m studying a real project to analyze the substructures for offshore wind turbines and reporting my findings to various companies and programs, including my sponsors. I’m doing all of these things because I am learning so much and genuinely enjoying the projects I get to work on. It wasn’t until recently that I realized the extra effort I’m putting into these projects is unusual.
Last week, I stood in front of a financially strapped society and presented my research project and upcoming presentation in Alaska in order to receive additional funding. Not only did I receive more than I asked for, an event is going to be made for my research and I was called an inspiration about ten times. I have been told this by colleagues and friends before, but I never fully understood what they meant. Now that I have relayed my news to my family, I have been reminded of things I have done over the years which shocked me with their results. For example, I created a roller hockey team at my high school. I got sponsors, players, recognition on tv and in the paper, and we even won silver one year in the finals. I was astounded that we not only created a team but that the team grew to two and continues to this day, long after I have gone. My mom reminded me of this. My grandma told me I have a gift to inspire and used that as an example.
Maybe I do have an ability to inspire, but I really don’t think it’s that. The way I see it, anything outstanding that I have done was something I loved doing. Hockey, French, Engineering, helping people. It took no extra effort for me to dedicate myself to those projects. People use me to inspire themselves when really I’m just an example of what anyone can do if they want to do something. There’s no secret recipe. If you’re passionate about something and you express that ardor to others, they’ll be just as fervent as you and support you in ways you wouldn’t be able to imagine. And it’s always so much easier to find that passion when it’s for something like human rights and equality and that which you believe is an absolutely necessary way by which to act.
So what am I trying to say? I guess it all depends on what you want from life. Do you feel like you’re fulfilling it? Are you helping improve the quality of life for others? Are you bettering yourself? Are you satisfied with what you’ve done with the time you’ve had? It’s not like I’m some expert but I can tell you, from what I’ve seen, all it takes is a little heart and you can transform people and things in ways you couldn’t imagine possible. Feel like doing something? Just do it. This isn’t even Nike but just do it anyway.