The Year of Light (Blog Post)

(Sorry it's late, the words had to come to me first)

Year of Light


Everyone has been told at
a moment in their life to “chase the stars”.  However, that is complete nonsense. Now you
are probably sitting at your computer, reading the screen, and thinking, “What is
this girl talking about?” Let me explain. Why chase what you could BE?


Reverend Ben McBride came
to Stanford University and told the Global Cohort to question, “Who will you
become?” and I believe this is the best question we can ask ourselves. There is
only one real answer here, and it is a star. Every single Global Citizen Fellow
can become a star, because the light already burns bright.


 When we ask ourselves what makes a star, it is
always along the lines of a musician or someone insanely smart. However, that is
incorrect. We all are stars in our own right, and the past eleven days I have
experienced has done nothing but further cement this truth. I have meet people
in our Global Cohort who have done things I can not even imagine. People who
have walked the different highways of life. Which lead me to question, “Why do
we live in a society where that can not be celebrated?” and “ Why must we pick the
shiniest and brightest people in the distance when the supernova could be
standing right next to us or BE us?”


These questions have plagued
my mind ever since I arrived at Stanford and now Ecuador. However, I will be the
first to admit that I suffer from this phenomenon called “instant gratification”.
I wanted to know the answers to my questions immediately but realized it was a
bit more complicated. We live in a society where the big steps are celebrated
but the small steps are ignored. I could not just go around telling everyone they
were a star and expect an immediate shift in their personas. It is a mindset
that must be believed or even the prettiest words will fall upon deaf ears.
That is why I have coined my gap year as, “The Year of Light”.


My goal is to make just ONE
person believe that they can be and are a star. Now you are probably thinking,
that is such a small goal. How can you possibly believe you can make a huge
difference with just one person? Well, first, it takes time to adapt to a star
mindset or, otherwise referred to as, a growth mindset. There will be days when
you regress instead of progress, but that does not mean you should stop
believing in yourself. Secondly, I can never know the impact my life has had on
someone unless they tell me. But I believe, that if I can make just one person believe
they are a star, it could change their whole life. You see, my gap year is not
about changing the world but, instead, changing an individual’s world.
Furthermore, it is to start a chain reaction.


If ONE person
believes they are a star, then they will start trying to convince everyone in
their network that they are too. Their presence will affect and inspire others.
It will push them out of their self-constructed world of self-deprecating lies
and doubt. But most importantly, it will create light.


In Genesis 1:3 God said, “Let
there be light: and there was light.” However, the best part is we can create light!
We create it by being our most genuine selves, by sharing our stories, and believing
in ourselves. That is all it takes to be a star and I have never meet so many
stars in one setting as I did when I arrived on Stanford’s campus.


My final words to all who
read this is to never believe you are not someone worthy of sharing your light.
We all shine so brightly that not even the night sky can find a place big
enough to hold our shine. One day we will all reign down from the heavens and
streak across the world in a light show that will be told across generations.
If you do not see it now, just wait, you will. As J.K. Rowling once wrote,” Happiness
can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on
the light.”


I would like to end this
blog with a thank you to everyone who has helped me shine including: Lowcountry
Barbershop, South Carolina Association of Student Councils (SCASC), The
Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina, and my parents. Without your support,
I could never have begun my Year of Light and it means everything. So, with all
my love and gratitude, thank you.


May your light always