Going to college comes with many exciting new things: a new environment, new friends, and most importantly, a new place to call home. Beginning a new life with more independence and new people may be difficult, but despite the many changes that take, living with an “Outlive Yourself“ spirit will continue to be one of my top priorities.
Although that is easier said than done, striving to help others with the simplest things can make a big difference. Being in a new environment can make others feel uncomfortable and having a helping hand can make someone feel a little more at home. Just as I did back in my hometown, I want to continue to make those who feel out of place gain confidence and become more comfortable with themselves and their community. By publicly and actively making a difference, I hope others will feel the need to take action creating a chain reaction of positive actions.
What it means…
To “Outlive Yourself” means to make an impact on someone or something that will last even when you are no longer present. This can happen many times throughout one’s life. It can be done with fellow peers in school, in church, and throughout your community. Outliving yourself means leaving a legacy of gratefulness and giving throughout your life. Creating a chain reaction of positive thoughts and actions can inspire others to “outlive” themselves. As I head off to college, I remind myself that every act of kindness can change someone’s life.
When it started…
At the age of five-years old, my family and I moved to the United States from Torreón, Mexico. Even though I was only five at the time, I was able to understand how this was going to change my life. At the time, I was neither sad nor heartbroken. In fact, I think I had a positive outlook on the situation. It was not until I arrived and realized that my English was nonexistent, making it difficult to make friends. I was enrolled in kindergarten, where the mentality of the other students is that no kid is better than the other. Nobody was mean or rude, but somehow I still felt out of place.
After a few weeks of coloring and not wanting to go to school, the only thing I started looking forward to was recess. During this time, I played soccer with my fellow peers and felt that it was the only time I was able to connect with them. One day during recess time, two friends (at the time they were just random strangers) went out of their way to make me feel more comfortable in school. They asked me questions about where I was from, how I had liked it, and if I was sad about moving. We happened to be in the same class and they continued to approach me day after day in attempts to make me feel welcome. They were going out of their way to help me not only learn English but to feel a little more at home. Despite my strained English, I began to feel more comfortable and looked forward to going to school. This was a big change. Ever since I realized they went out of their way to make me feel better about myself I have always wanted to help others whether their situation be similar to mine or completely different.
How it has changed my life…
Seeing other people benefit or feel better from an act of kindness encourages me. By continuously wanting to “outlive” myself in every possible situation my lifestyle has become a lot more positive. Rather than surrounding myself with negative perspectives, having a mentality of “outliving” myself has helped me have a more positive outlook with everything I do. As I head off to college I want to continue this habit and begin shaping my legacy in my new environment.
To learn more about the Taylor's Gift Foundation Scholarship program, visit TaylorsGift.org/Scholarship
This post is written by Alejandro Gonzalez, a Taylor's Gift Scholarship recipient and was originally posted in January 2016.