A fellow undergraduate student came into one of my classes yesterday to talk to us about studying abroad. Like myself, she’s a first-generation student that grew up in a low-income household. She recently came back from studying abroad in Argentina and, at first, I didn’t think there would be much for me to take away from her presentation until she put up a list of traits for success that I felt were some great things to list out and share on my blog.
- Let your past inspire your future.
- In my case, I believe that there are a lot of factors about my past (to include never meeting my biological father, growing up in a predominantly white neighborhood as a biracial Filipino immigrant, as well as coming from a low-income household) that have really helped me to shape and prioritize my life. I’m well-aware that I don’t want to live in debt, live a selfish life, be insensitive to the social norms and identities of others, or even lack the means to travel the world. These are only a few values that I can immediately think of that are directly correlated to my past, and I can only hope that everyone strives towards a better future for themselves, as well as for the people who are directly affected by the decisions they make on a daily basis.
- Surround yourself with positive and successful people.
- This has always been something I’ve found to be quite the important value over the years. Although we don’t necessarily have to surround ourselves with like-minded people, it’s helpful to surround yourself with people who have common goals and aspirations, otherwise you can find yourself torn between what you want and what they want. I like to believe that it’s our time spent with people who seek to better themselves that ultimately help us to gain the necessary courage to accomplish those goals. Likewise, I love it when I can surround myself with educated people who also share the same sociopolitical and linguistic interests as I do, and that we could ‘nerd-out’ on various topics and “agree to disagree” about potential problems and solutions. It’s environments like these that help to expand horizons, not-only for myself, but for others that I interact with as well.
- Don’t turn down small opportunities.
- This is so true. I used to think that it was always about the big opportunities, but it’s actually the sum of the small opportunities that (sometimes) makes for a much larger and greater impact on the world around us. Take the time out of your busy schedule to volunteer and make your impact wherever you can.
- Take calculated risks and be adventurous.
- Although it’s so easy for us to remain in our comfort zones, there’s so much to experience in this world if we gathered enough courage to take those risks and be a little more advantageous. Granted, this doesn’t mean step out in front of a moving vehicle, but rather means that we should try new, goal-oriented, things where we know that the chances of success are plausible. As a former Member of Parliament in India once said, “Nothing ventured, nothing gained. And venture belongs to the adventurous” (Navjot Singh Sidhu).
To add on to this list, I believe that it should be expressed that one should truly assess their own individual life goals and values before moving forward with these plans. I don’t believe that there’s anything wrong with staying where you are, nor do I believe this is a lifestyle for everyone, but if you’re someone who feels like they’re a big fish in a small pond – perhaps someday you’ll find yourself longing for something more – and I’m certain that these steps will help you get started.
I hope you all have a great rest of your day!