Ashley Simmons, a graduating BBA senior, shares the importance of perspective and appreciating everyone's unique story.
Below you'll find the complete transcript of Ashley's audio reflection:
Eighth grade memories. You were the oldest in middle school and, for that reason and that reason only, you had the right to walk down the hallways proud, making sure that everyone else knew it. Your biggest problem was studying for your science test the next day, and you thought life was so difficult when really it was so simple.
Even though I also was guilty for falling into this mindset, the things that I remember most from eighth grade are pretty different. In fact, my strongest memories from eighth grade don’t even come from school at all. I remember flying back and forth to Florida every couple of months, sitting in hospitals with my family for hours at a time, and having to watch my grandma get sicker and sicker as each visit passed. All my life, I had been extremely close with my grandma so these visits were particularly hard for me. I felt that I had to be the strong one for my younger sisters when my mom, understandably, could not. When my grandma passed away in February of 2005, I looked to others for my strength. Support from my family and friends is what got me through such a difficult period. I even remember receiving a card from my history teacher and classmates, a small token of support, but one that I will never forget.
It wasn’t until I got a little older that I realized how much of an impact this experience had made on my life. I now see that some of my key attributes - adaptability, thinking about others’ feelings more so than most and even being easygoing - stem from having to experience tragedy at such an early age and having to grow up quickly because of it. I now realize how important support is when going through a hard time. You may think you need to make a big contribution in order to have a big impact, but, really, it’s the little things that people remember most. Asking someone how their day is going or even a simple smile can have more of an impact on someone than you will ever know.
So realize that life is short, and make the most with the time that you have. As my mom always says, don’t sweat the small stuff. So you didn’t do as well as you would have liked to on your finance exam, so what. In the grand scheme of things, it’s really just a test. Put things into perspective, and you’ll realize that some of your “daunting problems,” really aren’t that bad at all.
All in all, be grateful for what you have. The future is unpredictable so live in the present. Cherish those around you, and make sure that the people you care about most know that you do. Have confidence in yourself, and know your abilities. You got where you are now for a reason so remember that. And, most importantly, be your own person. It’s easy to get stuck in the Ross mindset sometimes, we’re practically branded to act a certain way, but set yourself apart. Everyone has a story to tell, and true leaders allow their stories to be an example for others, allowing others to be leaders too.
Being a good leader is as much about understanding who you are not, as it is about understanding who you are. By knowing the extent of your capabilities, you can develop a leadership style that is genuine, yet still empowers others to reach their full potential.