How the Message of "Outlive Yourself" Inspired Me To Be A Leader

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Written by: McKenna Lines, 2016 Taylor's Gift Foundation Scholarship recipient presented by NIKE North America Merchandising and a freshman student at the University of Oklahoma.

Last year when I wrote my essay application for Taylor’s Gift Scholarship, I focused on my “Outlive Myself” goal to always be a passionate leader.  To do this, I reflected on my past four years of high school and my leadership accomplishments.  These accomplishments were all very important to my involvement and successes in school and the community.  I took great pride in fulfilling my commitment to “Outlive Myself” during my high school years.

 Leaving the familiarity of home, family, and friends to go off to college and start from scratch is more than a transition, it is intimidating! I am surrounded by over 24,000 undergraduate students daily on my college campus. In the first few weeks of college, I had to remind myself deep down that this was what I had worked so hard to achieve. I had to look beyond the intimidation I felt. To do this, I went back to my plan to continue and grow in my “Outlive Myself” goal by becoming involved in campus and community-wide activities, using my skills to influence others in positive ways. 

 So now, 6 months later, I am finishing my first semester of college!  I have surrounded myself with a strong group of like-minded, well-grounded friends at college.  It is always important to be active on campus and in the community, but it is much more enjoyable to be active as part of a strong group to learn from and grow with. I have continued to stand firmly in my beliefs and continue to be relied upon as a “go-to” person.   

I have reached out in the neighboring community and help with childcare for a young local family.  In addition, I am actively involved in my college sorority, which places a high value on philanthropic efforts as well as studies and campus leadership.  As a freshman, I am benefiting and learning from the leadership and character of our upperclassmen.  I know in the next three years, as an upperclassman, I will have the opportunity to lead and serve as an example of strong character to help guide others. These opportunities to mentor others to “Outlive Themselves” continue to fulfill my goal of utilizing my leadership skills to “Outlive Myself”.


McKenna is a 2016 Taylor's Gift Foundation Scholarship winner and now attends the University of Oklahoma. Our application for the 2017 Taylor's Gift Foundation Scholarship presented by NIKE North America Merchandising is now open, click here to learn more or click below to apply! 

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