School can be stressful! Classes, homework, reading assignments…how’s a student supposed to balance it all? We know you have a lot on your plate and that got us wondering—how do you stay stress-free? We received some pretty inspirational responses, but ultimately Rebecca’s submission won over the judges for finding unique ways to balance her artistic and outdoor interests.
Here’s her winning essay:
I have two main de-stressing activities in my life: photography and horticulture. I’m from the city and I go to college in the middle of nowhere, so I like to explore and photograph old abandoned buildings with my friends. It makes me feel giddy and it offers an artistic release. Horticulture calms me. I grow my own cooking herbs in my dorm room! Meticulously caring for my little table of sweet basil, lemon balm, oregano, winter savory, and spearmint helps me to organize my oft-scattered brain.
We wanted to get to know Rebecca a little bit better, so we asked her a few questions about herself and her interests. Here’s what she had to share!
You have a lot of experience in team building experiences. What skills do you think make a good leader?
I think the most important quality a leader can have is the willingness to serve. The leader of the team is the one who makes sure that the job gets done, no matter what. This means you must be willing to do those things that no one else on the team will do. Other members of the team will respect you more for it!
Communication skills are also key. Leaders are very diverse and dynamic – they can be outspoken or quiet, rushed or relaxed, serious or playful, visionary or concrete – and there is a time and place for each of these types of leaders. However every strong leader I’ve seen in history has mastered the skill of communication. It’s a lot easier to direct a ship when you communicate your thoughts clearly with the crew – and hear their thoughts in return.
What’s an interest of yours that most people would not expect at first glance?
I really enjoy weaving – textiles, as well as basket weaving. I’m also becoming a fairly decent henna artist. I have a Somali friend who taught me the basics, and I researched and practiced – and am continuing to do so. Most of the time I have to practice on my own hands and feet. Since henna lasts at least two weeks, it always prompts interesting conversations – and people are usually quite surprised to discover I was the artist! Really, though, I love to engage all sorts of art ventures – I’ve done a lot of work with pottery, bead-work, sewing, graphic design, filmography, and photography, aside from weaving and henna.
What would you like to do after you finish school?
I’m majoring in Cross-Cultural Adult Education and minoring in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) and French. After I finish school my tentative plan is to go to either North Africa or the southeastern coast of France and work with adults there to help them learn English and French. However I would just as soon go just about anywhere in Africa, and there’s a chance that I’ll end up in Haiti. I guess the only sure thing is that I’ll be somewhere overseas, teaching adults and having excellent adventures.
How are you more than a test score?
My parents always stressed to me the importance of having good test scores to get good grades to get scholarships, so I could get through college without debt. And while test grades are important, I’m so much more than the sum of the questions I can answer correctly.
I am passionate. My passion for other cultures and languages and education has driven me to the point of indignation over the fact that adults overseas (and even in places here in the United States!) are denied educational opportunities.
I am curious. My curiosity has led me to explore cultures and environments I would have never otherwise learned about. This has led me to widen my own worldview and perspective on life and I have learned to respect perspectives that differ from my own.
I am committed to growth and integrity. I am committed to the life-long process of learning, critically evaluating, and analyzing my experiences so that I will ultimately grow as a person become the best I can be. I am committed to the hard and painful experiences life has to offer, as well as the fun experiences – knowing that I can learn and grow in every circumstance.
My passions, my curiosities, and my developmental experiences have taken me much farther than any good test grade ever could. In the end, people respect you for who you are, not what you know. That’s why I’m more – ever so much more – than a test grade.
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