“The secret of happiness is to see all the marvels of the world, and never to forget the drops of oil on the spoon.” ~ Paulo Coelho
This quote comes from my number one rated book ever, The Alchemist. This book was literally such a life changing book for me and I knew I wanted to share it with the TSTC students in Harlingen, TX during my visit there this Easter week.
I was recently the speaker for TSTC Student Leadership Academy– Confidence in Leadership #FollowYourDreams end of the semester workshop. Student Leadership Academy is run by Student Life Director Adele Clinton-Solis, where students “are instilled relevant skills and knowledge essential to the achievement of excellence in leadership.”
Texas State Technical College is located in Harlingen, TX. Harlingen is part of the Rio Grande Valley in South Texas and like most students that attended the workshop, I was raised in the Rio Grande Valley and attended a two-year college. I wanted to share my story with them. I wanted to talk about obstacles, confidence, change and following dreams.
Shortly after I graduated from Texas A&M-Kingsville, I obtained a job in the Student Activities Department in South Texas College, the two-year institution that helped me grow and be ready for A&M-Kingsville. I am a first generation college graduate and feel I am relatable to a lot of students down in the RGV. I was ecstatic when I found out I would be able to be a presenter at this workshop. It was really important to me for these students to hear my story. Like them, the obstacles I faced early on in my education were mainly cultural. I gained my confidence by being part of clubs, organizations and volunteer groups in school. My biggest change was moving away from the RGV and being exposed to different cultures, sceneries and opportunities. I was no longer afraid to go after my “personal legend”. I built up enough courage to actually make my move to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career and figure it out on my own, even if that meant living in my car for a bit. As far as I was concerned I was following my dreams. While pursuing acting I obtained a job in the airline industry. I started traveling and saw a whole different world; acting got put on the back burner. I received change with open arms and embraced it. What fascinates ME is the idea of not knowing and plunging into things even if that means falling on my face. Like Coelho says, “The secret of life, though, is to fall seven times and to get up eight times.” Currently I still work within the industry and have recently launched my own Fashion and Travel blog called Deys of Summer. I share fashionable corporate wear for the everyday modern woman and write about my travels all over the world.
I shared with the students my beginning and my present. Looking around the room and having their undivided attention, knowing that they were relating to my story, and being able to interact with them was beyond rewarding. I held four raffle drawings, three for gift cards and one for a copy of The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. I wrote a personal message on the front of the book and kindly asked the winner to read the book and then pay it forward, just as one friend of mine had asked me to do. (Marlowe, I have (wink).)
At the end of the workshop I asked everyone to take a picture with me, first, so I can remember my first speaking engagement as Deys of Summer and second, to be able to see their encouraged and uplifted faces. I hope I am an inspiration to them as they are to me. ❀