The most earth-rattling, indescribable word.
How is it possible that it only takes a matter of seconds to never see someone again? Never talk to them again. Never see their life-changing smile again.
You try to come up with any and every possible reason why they were taken away from you, but you never find one that can heal the pain.
Everyone experiences all types of pain, from physical ache to heartbreak, but this type of pain is unbearable.
Sure, you learn how to suppress it on occasion, but that pain becomes a part of you.
It is a giant hole in your being, because the person you lost helped shape you.
I envy those who can find overwhelming peace by turning to the Lord in this unbearable time.
I wish I had that kind of relationship with God, to not have a doubt in my mind that everything was going to be okay. That the person I lost was the happiest they’ve ever been in the gates of heaven.
But the sad truth is that I do not know. I do doubt.
At only 21 years old, how have I already experienced so much loss?
How was my best friend’s boyfriend so unhappy at the naïve age of 16 that he took his own life?
How could the most uplifting coach, mentor, and teacher be killed so suddenly, leaving behind his two little children without a dad?
How could three boys that were just about to embark on the best four years of their life encounter such a tragic incident, leaving one mentally handicapped and one gathering the community for a funeral?
How could everyone’s favorite Auburn Tiger, with the most God fearing family, no longer walk this earth?
And how could five beautiful college girls, that have made such a remarkable impact, have their futures cut short?
I have to believe everything happens for a reason.
I have to believe that heaven is one hell of a party.
I have to believe that these beautiful people served their purpose on earth, even in such a short time frame.
And I have to believe that eventually… we will all be okay.
I never thought that skills I learned when I was 12 would play such an important role in my adult life. It’s funny. We go through life knowing that the things we learn in school build on top of each other to teach us things we will need to know to go to college, but the skills we learn outside of the classroom teach us the most important lessons of all: honor, courage, integrity, and, most importantly, perseverance.
Junior year of high school is when it all began. Everyone starts looking at colleges and begins to take the dreaded SATs. All of my friends seemed to know what colleges they wanted to go to and had been getting great results on their SATs. In the midst of the secure attitudes surrounding me, I felt lost, as if there was something wrong with me because I didn’t know where I wanted to go.
I could barely answer the simplest questions my counselor asked me about what I wanted out of a college.
My scores were good but not great and certainly far from spectacular. I thought that after working with my parents to compile a list of colleges to apply to, I would feel more secure and that I could measure up to my classmates. To my surprise, that only made me feel more anxious than ever because I began to think that I wasn’t good enough for any college that I applied to and asked myself why would they want me?
Needless to say, self-doubt is a wrecking ball that doesn’t hesitate to attack its victims and demolish any shred of mental toughness they had keeping them together. This is what happened to me. Even after I started to get acceptance letters, I felt like a fraud.
I didn’t understand why these colleges were choosing me when there must have been thousands of applicants that were more deserving.
The one college that I really wanted to get accepted to was Georgia Tech. I would joke with my friends and family about the impossible odds of me being accepted, but I was always secretly hoping that there was a welcome packet with my name on it somewhere in an office on campus. Then the day came. March 14th brought with it my entire future in the click of one button.
I remember standing at work and getting the email from Georgia Tech that my admissions decision was available online. I asked my boss if I could step in the back and check it. I got to the office and pulled up Buzzport. Before I looked, I sat there pondering things to say to my co-workers when I didn’t get accepted.
After I thought of a few that were acceptable to me, I clicked the button. My manager came into the office when he heard me crying. He came up to me and gave me a hug to encourage me that everything was going to be ok.
I turned around and proudly exclaimed that I was officially a Yellow Jacket and part of the class of 2019!
My self-doubt was shattered not by my acceptance into Georgia Tech (although that definitely didn’t hurt it either). When I was sitting at the computer waiting to click the button to see my admissions decision, I remembered the advice my Girl Talk counselor gave me when I was 12. She told me, “You are an inspiring person who has so much to offer to the world. Don’t let the words of those who don’t know you dictate your life. Let your light shine through.”
This is the motto I choose to live by every day. We are all unique and have something special to offer the world. Sometimes we hit rough patches that try to diminish the light we all have in us, but through our own strength, that light can radiate out to the world.
By: Someone who believes in you and your strength.