“The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly; it is dearness only that gives everything its value. I love the [person] that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress and grow brave by reflection. ‘Tis the business of little minds to shrink; but he whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves his conduct, will pursue his principles unto death.” ~ Thomas Paine

I love this quote. I love it because during my time as a student, a performer, and a leader I have encountered many obstacles, conflicts, and rejection. When one attempts to do great things for themselves, the people around them, and the people far away from them, conflicts will always arise. I have learned over the years that I cannot shrink from challenging situations. I have often made this mistake, and I have always regretted it.

My time in college has allowed me to experience immense professional, extracurricular, and social obstacles. Through every obstacle, I have grown bolder and more vocal. I have begun to become more motivated and determined when I am faced with a challenge. I have learned not to stay silent when I, my peers, my projects, or my passions have been wronged. I no longer shrink; I get angry. And from my anger stems perseverance.

We all have encountered obstacles that have almost broken our spirit. We have cried when our hard work has not paid off. And we have given up when all seemed hopeless. But my advice to you (and to myself), is that if you are passionate about something, you must persevere. I have done my fair share of giving up, but I now realize that the projects, communities, and organizations I am now part of are too important to stop fighting for.

Whenever I am faced with a challenge, regardless of how distressing it may be, I will fight.

In the wise words of Michael Jordan:

“If you’re trying to achieve, there will be roadblocks. I’ve had them; everybody has had them. But obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.”


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