Growing into the woman I was meant to be.

There is so many beautiful things that happened this year, none of which I planned on doing when I mapped out my gap year. I originally decided to obtain my certification to give nutrition coaching. However, once I finished that exam and gained self efficacy, I saw a new side of myself I had never before. I was hungry for more success and knowledge, so I decided to also study for my personal training certification. Sure enough, I put my nose to the grindstone and passed the exam. The day I earned my second was one of the most proudest moments of my life. For the first time ever, I did something self-paced, held myself accountable, went 20% above what grade I needed to pass, and had help from nobody. I could finally call something truly and entirely my own. My second experience is actually something that lasted a full 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days- self growth. This is not the cliche changes that happen over the course of the year, I experienced gritty messy growth. I had to pull myself together and truly take responsibility for the first time in my life. If I failed, it was entirely on me. If I couldn’t pay my bills, it was entirely on me. If I didn’t have energy to cook one night, it was entirely. on. me. The tough love I was given by my parents, which was calculated and well intentioned, really forced me to have more awareness of my actions and their consequences. I have a comprehension of time management, money, and independently existing. The final experience was again unplanned, but involves all of the amazing people I met, including my boyfriend, best friend, and an entirely new support system altogether. When I first moved to Tallahassee a year ago, I knew nobody. I also worked 40-60 hours a week making it hard to squeeze “friend time” in, or even impossible at that. But within a few months of volunteering at food banks, working at Target, going to Premier Health & Fitness, and managing a GNC, I had built an entire support system and met friends I plan on having at my wedding.

The most challenging thing I dealt with this past year was the tough love I got from my parents financially. Many of my friends and I talked about this and I truly think that, even though it’s never easy, you have to be a broke college student sometimes! If my parents didn’t force me to be financially independent, I would have kept living years of my life wasteful, unknowledgeable, and without a concept of money. Now I am able to comprehend the sacrifices my parents had to make so I could have everything they gave me as a kid. The weight of that was also hard because you don’t realize how you take things for granted, until you don’t have them anymore. Now, I want to give them the world because I can finally see what they’ve done for me. Easily, the hardest part was learning to be financially independent.

My perspective of life was life = challenge but is now life = opportunity for growth. I saw every challenge as a set back, whereas I see it as a way to become better than before with more knowledge. I started listening to constructive criticism for the first time in my life. I started looking for the 10 doors that opened when a single one closed.

The only expectation for college that changed was my major. I originally wanted to become a Licensed Dietician, but am now going to have a bachelors in Exercise Physiology.

Some goals I have for this coming year, both personal and school related, include: graduate freshman year with an unweighted 3.8+ GPA, work as a personal trainer at the Leach, gain strength in the gym, find more wonderful people to add to my circle, and most importantly keep growing into the woman my mother formed me into.

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