By Takara Lawrence
How would you define personal growth? I did some research and the best answer I came across was “the growth and enhancement of all aspects of a person and their effectiveness in living.”
To break it down to a much more simple understanding it means finding peace within. It means you’ve come to a point in your life where you can comfortably take a second and breathe. All the worries that once consumed your life are merely just a thought of the past. This is what I think about when I think about personal growth. When you’re growing up you think that getting older is such a horrible idea. You think about the car payments, bills, and the possibility of taking care of children or better yet taking care of yourself. Every young person has muttered, “I never want to grow up,” and stood behind that stance. The thought of having to save your money and not being able to spend it on what you want was a serious issue at the time. These were the worries we thought about based on what we saw in our everyday surroundings and what people would say about getting older. I’m getting older every day and I can say it’s wonderful.
I was that person in high school that never took school seriously. I had a good amount of friends and school was the last thing on my mind always. I was running from my home life so any distraction was good to me. I wouldn’t apply myself, and I did the bare minimum when it came to doing homework. I was good friends with a girl who always had her nose in the books. She would always encourage me to apply myself and take school seriously because it could take me places. At the time I just ignored her comments and kept aimlessly living my life. I had a job at 16 and at one point I wanted to drop out of school and work full-time. I knew if I wanted to I could have because I was never really at home and no one was going to stop me. Since I was missing a lot of school, my guidance counselor knew where I worked and called my job and spoke to my manager about my attendance. He pulled me to the side and asked me how I was doing in school. I told him the truth, I disliked school and I wanted to work and make real money. He just stared at me and asked me if I was being serious, as if what I was saying to him was dumb. At the time I thought it was a good idea, I would be ahead of most people my age and I would be able to provide for myself. He told me I had to finish school and I had to receive my diploma because it is important in the long run. I missed so much school in my senior year that my guidance counselor had to speak to my teachers on my behalf. My teachers all gave me the same feedback that I was a very smart girl and I need to take my education seriously. In my mind I still thought I could go far without continuing my education. I had friends that went to college right after high school and are successful now. Once I graduated high school it took me five years to take my education seriously.
The people I went to high school with now have promising careers. I have a friend that took his CPA and passed. I have another friend that went to college for biology and has been to other countries to help take care of sick children. The same friend that told me I should take school seriously is currently living in her own home and has a great job in finance. She even wants to go back to school for her master’s. The fact that they worked hard and took their education seriously motivates me to go further with my education. I’m back in college now, I had gone when I was younger but I stopped going. I took a much needed break and re-evaluated my life. In that time being I thought about what I could do to establish a career for myself. I’ve always been a hard worker, and with my current job I worked hard and was promoted to a merchandiser making a good wage. I’m currently in my last semester at Nassau Community College and I’m excited to work towards my BA. My time at Nassau Community College was definitely eye opening. The professors at Nassau do have the student’s best interest at heart. I was presented with an amazing opportunity to write for Campus News because of my public relations professor. Professor Jack Mandel, encouraged my class to take every opportunity that was presented to you. He told the class that he had a friend that was looking for students to write for his paper. I contemplated actually taking this opportunity because I never let anyone ready, anything I’ve written before. I got over my fear and decided to actually send over one of my pieces and I’ve been submitting articles ever sense. I can now use the newspaper as a reference if my future endeavors. Mandel is just one professor I can look back on and thank him for encouraging me to take a chance. I’ve taken courses with many great professors and am thankful for all of them. I will be finishing my last semester at Nassau this May. I’m excited for the next chapter in my life and for the new life I’m currently building for myself. I encourage everyone to take their education seriously no matter your age or the circumstances; your mind will take you great places. Take advantage of all the opportunities presented to you and build a life you can be proud of. You never know where that opportunity will take you.
Takara Lawrence is a Marketing Major at Nassau Community College, She hopes to one day act, write, and produce her own television show.