One Year Wordiversary

My notifications have dutifully notified me that two days ago marked my one year anniversary with WordPress. Upon reflecting, I’ve decided this blog was exactly what I needed over the past year. It was the most challenging school year I’ve faced thus far, and writing was one of the only things which secured my sanity– the other being music.

My #MotivationMondays successfully distracted me from doing what I was supposed to be doing during the school year. Though they caused more procrastination than I’d care to admit (seeing as many of my deadlines fell on Tuesdays), I don’t believe anything else could’ve, ironically, kept me more focused. In the future, I will probably drop the #MotivationMonday title, and just write about all the wonderful organizations that exist. 

So, thank you, WordPress. I had no idea what would come of aimlessly creating a blog and writing to an invisible audience, but it has been a perfect tool to help me grow. 

That being said, here’s what’s up with me in a list so I don’t ramble (let’s be real here: I probably will anyway):

1) I have become OBSESSED with slam poetry/spoken word/good rap. I’ve written a few pieces of my own, and I would absolutely love to perform them somewhere. I actually think that might be on my bucketlist from many posts ago.

2) Oh, hey, I graduated college. Woohoo! And I finished student teaching. Both were incredible experiences which tossed me into the ring without any preparation. I’ve never grown so much in my life. I am so grateful for the people who pushed and supported me.

3) I don’t really know exactly what to do from here on out. I would love to write for organizations (for example, Pencils of Promise, Charity : water, Invisible Children, DoSomething.org, etc.). I would also love to perform slam poetry. Or be an author, for that matter! I’d love to get involved with Peace Corps, AmeriCorps, or a Mission House in my area. Or become a wizard. I’d like to put my degree to use and teach in other countries. I’m applying to all of these things, so hopefully I will have some good news to report in the near future. My life could take about 100 different directions at this point. Exciting and terrifying all at once!

Alright, I think that’s a decent update. Til next time, folks! Stay gold. 

 

#MotivationMonday : Adam Braun and Pencils of Promise

HAPPY #MOTIVATIONMONDAY : )

For today’s motivation, I wanted to share the organization that I am personally really passionate about. Being that I am studying to become a teacher, it might not come as a surprise to you that the organization I care most about has to do with– you guessed it– education!

Ever heard of Pencils of Promise?

If you said yes, then hello and let’s be friends forever. If you said no, I still want to be your friend forever, but be prepared for a quick education about education : ) It’s definitely an organization I would love to be directly involved with!

Quick Sweet Fact: One of the coolest stories from this organization, in my opinion, comes from how the organization was founded. Adam was walking in a developing country and ran into a boy who was begging on the street. He asked the boy what he would ask for if he could have anything in the world, to which the boy replied “a pencil.” What a simple request with such huge implications. Thus, five years ago he gave up everything, invested just $25 in his organization, and has since built over 150 schools in developing countries. How. Incredible.

This video is 1.5 minutes dedicated to telling you exactly what it is that PoP does:

This video is about 2 minutes. There isn’t much said, and it isn’t the most moving video they have, but what you get to see are the conditions some students are forced to learn in; there are classrooms under trees outside. I think you can only imagine what that might be like if the weather didn’t comply. Not to mention that, in this technology-driven world, many students don’t have access to even one computer. Check it out:

The Pencils of Promise YouTube channel has tons more videos if you want to find some other goodies : ) I challenge you guys to go to the PoP website and learn more. There are options for everyone to get involved, including everything from direct donations, to ordering a T-shirt, to becoming an intern. They even have a Twitter! The point is, they’re super accessible and I want to urge you guys to at least check them out. I believe everyone deserves a school to learn in. No one should have to sit outside or in a lousy, falling-apart building each and every day. Every child should have a pencil. Every child should be given the key to a future–education.

OKAY STOP FOR A SECOND. If you’re feeling like, “Hey, you blogger person, I was hoping for a TED talk or something,” which you might be, I’d like to accommodate for you. So, did I mention that this is one of my hero’s organization? And that his brother is my other hero? If you remember me mentioning Adam or Scooter Braun in any one of my earlier posts, this is Adam’s organization. Please ready yourself to meet one of the most inspirational, driven, and kind people I know of. Just listen to the endless amount of wisdom and drive in this man’s voice and TELL me you don’t want to drop everything at this very moment and go conquer the world.

Make it count, folks. Til next time!

Revelations (Part II of Who I am. Why I am.)

Alright, I still have a lot of explaining to do. In my second post, I talked about my best friend and I going to a rather life-changing concert. If you need to refer to that first, please feel free.

Anyway, after the concert, I felt like a new lens had been placed over everything I saw. I felt like I was on one of those Claritin commercials where the little strip gets pulled off out of the corner of the screen and suddenly everything is really clear. I had a clarifying Claritin moment. Suddenly I wanted to change everything. I wanted to touch everything around me and change it. I wanted to touch abstract thoughts and twist them up into little knots of ideas.  I had felt the sincerest form of kindness radiate out of a person (in this particular instance, Alfredo Flores’), and I wanted to pay that forward. At that moment, I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life making others feel that way.

Secondly, I felt like I was fulfilling some kind of step in the path I’m on. I felt like I was supposed to go to that concert, and I was supposed to meet Alfredo, and I was supposed to have a Claritin moment. It all felt like I was picking up a line of figurative Cheerios one by one until I was led to something. I thought my journey of pivotal moments was over by then. I mean, what else could have been more influential than that?

Well, I found out. Jacklyn was trying out for The Voice in Chicago (she didn’t make it all the way through, but she got darn close! And has the voice of a sugary angel, I might add), so I decided to go with her. Our pivotal/Claritin moment from the concert had inspired her to move to Seattle to pursue her musical, world-changer dreams, so spending some time together in Chicago was our last hurrah before she left.

We thought we’d be spending our time on the Mag Mile, in that shop-til-you-drop fashion. Instead, we ended up sitting on the cold, January concrete with some people who were homeless. I literally cannot explain how it changed my life on this blog. In fact, I’m writing a book about it at the moment, which will be named something like Homeless or something more creative when I get the chance. There’s probably a book out there by that name already anyway.

Regardless, the concert gave me the notion that I’d be spending my life making people happy, and the trip to Chicago opened my eyes to which people that would be. The people I met were so beautiful inside and out, and had such heart-wrenching stories. It’s crazy how numb we are to those who are homeless or in need. I think sometimes we forget how human we all are. For example, there was Yvette. She was the first person I really talked to. As I got to know her a little more (after her tears dried), I found out that her one true vice was chocolate. She LOVED it and always chose it when we’d offer something to her. It was so adorable how her mood completely flipped when it was an option. I remember thinking that THAT’S how she really was; her true personality came out for that moment, and it was beautiful. Because she had fallen on hard times, that part of her was rarely unharnessed. I want to and will spend my life working to lift people up who have been shoved down.

I think the world is beautiful, but I think we mistreat it. I think everyone is a success story waiting to happen, but sometimes people need a push or some encouragement. I think there’s a lot of unnecessary negativity, but if we all give a little positivity, that can change. I think everyone deserves an equal opportunity, and I’d love to give it (ever heard of Pencils of Promise? CHECK IT OUT. That’s mostly what I’m talking about here… I’m also an English Education Major, so maybe that’s just me nerding out– I don’t know). I want to help change the world. Not in some narcissistic way; in fact, if I could stay in the background for my whole life, I’d really rather do it that way. I don’t need to be seen; I just need to do what I’m supposed to do. The way I see it, I was placed in this time in the history of humankind, and it would be a dishonor to my life to remain unresponsive to my calling. I have a responsibility. I want to help people. I want to hand out smiles. I want to bring a new perspective to others– to give them their own Claritin moment.