After graduating with honors in May, AnnaLea is ready to take on the world. This Texas girl may be far away from home at JWU Providence, but she's found her way with positivity, hard work and always giving 100%.
A majority of us can relate that the transition from high school to college isn’t always the most certain – taking that leap into the unknown can sometimes leave you thinking of questions like, “Is this the right decision for my future?” or “Is this the right college for me?” Life is unexpected and the decisions that we choose to make may not always be the right ones. But every experience, good or bad, will ultimately shape you into the person you are meant to be.
Coming from Texas, I took the whole “moving far away from home” mindset to the extreme when I made the decision to move to Rhode Island for college. It wasn’t because I genuinely disliked where I grew up – trust me, when it comes to good ol’ southern food and relaxing under the heat of that Texas sun, that state will always be home. Though, after visiting JWU Providence and taking a tour of our university’s campus, I felt an overwhelming sense of opportunity and an immediate feeling that Rhode Island would soon become my second home.
I came into college with the mentality to not get involved in any clubs or organizations where I wasn’t going to give my 100%. Over the past 2 years, I have been a part of JWU’s Collegiate Ambassador Team, giving multiple tours to prespective students who are interested in learning more about the university. After every tour, I always leave my group with a final statement:
“A person cannot succeed if they are not happy with their surroundings or within themselves. In considering what this university can provide for you academically, also imagine if you can see yourself succeed in what could potentially be your new home away from home.”
It is hard to imagine that in a short 3 years, I have grown immensely as an individual who has come to understand that through hard work and perseverance, anything is possible. This upcoming May, I plan to graduate with honors and a BS in travel, tourism and hospitality management. As for the rest of my story, I still haven’t figured what my next chapter will be but it is my hope to temporarily become a part of the Peace Corps and help teach English or work with developing youth in Costa Rica or Fiji.
Throughout the course of your life, you are going to experience extreme highs and lows but it is important to never lose hope in what the future may hold. Today, we are expected at a young age to quickly decide the course of our lives and for some, this isn’t always the easiest decision. If you’re among those, like me, that still has yet to figure out what they want to be, just know the world can wait. Figure out who you are as an individual and where your passions lie and I can guarantee you will discover the rest of your path. Appreciate the life you live and stay positive – the road to success is long and winding so try to enjoy the ride and one day, you’ll reach your destination.
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