This past weekend, I was back in my home state of Ohio at the 2012 Distinguished Young Women of Ohio program. It was absolutely wonderful to meet the Ohio Class of 2012 and to be reminded of the incredible nature of the Distinguished Young Women program. One of the participants, Brianna Barnes (who was actually the first runner-up!) asked me a very wise and, I feel, important question while I was getting to know the girls. She said that she was aware of the fact that most participants in the Distinguished Young Women program hold themselves to a high moral standard or follow a higher Power, and she was wondering how I have kept my morals and “stayed distinguished” throughout my first year in college.
My precious friends from Lakeview, my home church, getting ready for an Auburn football game! War Eagle!
The honor of “Distinguished Young Woman” does not have an expiration date. Being distinguished, which means to be marked by eminence or excellence, is a life-long goal that we must strive toward. Our college years may be viewed by some individuals as a time to “party it up” or have as much fun as possible while squeaking by in our classwork – living a generally selfish lifestyle before the “real world” sets in. However, I believe that our college years should not be squandered by being filled with activities that don’t impact those around us for the better! We can accomplish SO much during our college careers, and our time is precious! After college, we may find ourselves with a full-time job, a husband, or even a family, and time will be limited. So, I propose that we stay distinguished in college and don’t lose sight of what’s truly important in life.
Some of the AU Singers and me, getting ready for one of our Fall shows.
The first way I’ve been able to stay distinguished throughout my freshman year and keep my moral standards high is by finding good friends. One of my biggest worries coming into school was the unknown of finding friends who have the same beliefs and standards that I do. While it is good to branch out and have friends who are different than we are, it’s also essential to surround yourself with good influences. Don’t condescend to others’ moral standards because it’s the easy thing to do. Instead, hold those high standards for yourself, and choose friends who will encourage and inspire you! It can be easy to “settle” and hang out with the first few people you meet, but the distinguished young woman will be patient and wait, forming friendships with those who will challenge you to become your best self.
Friends from Lakeview at our Valentine's Day party :)
In order to find good friends, being involved in activities you enjoy is a great place to start. The very first weekend I was away from home, beginning my college career, I got plugged in to a local church. The Lord has blessed me with my very best friends stemming from my small group, all of whom I met at Lakeview, where I attend! If you get involved in things that you love, you are going to find others who love the same things! I also auditioned and was selected for the Auburn University Singers, which is the show choir here at Auburn. I was instantly connected with 35 other people who loved to sing and perform, and we had much in common from the very start! Because I got involved in two of my biggest passions – my faith and music – I have found amazing friends who are great examples for me.
Be true to yourself in college! Don’t lower your standards because it’s the easy thing to do. Find good friends, get involved, and be distinguished!