Always Blessed, Never Less

By Jacqueline Wibowo
Distinguished Young Woman of California for 2014


This week marks the end of my first quarter of college, but the idea that I am now a full time college student is still hard to grasp. A year ago, right around this time, I was frantically applying for colleges, having no idea where I wanted to end up or what I wanted to do. But, the promise of college being the best years of my life was what kept me motivated.I’m happy to say, however, that all that work was well worth it. Sitting at my desk well past 2 a.m., stressed beyond belief with a million crumpled essay drafts sitting in the trashcan? Worth it. Visiting college after college (yes, that means red eye flights for the east coast ones) and barraging current students with questions to help me find my perfect fit? Worth it. Beating out senioritis (well, kind of) to better prepare me for college? Worth it.

So far, college has lived up to its hype and so much more. I think in retrospect, the high points of my experience so far have far outweighed the low points, so it’s easy to think that the transition into college was smooth sailing and easy. But, I’d like to reflect on the low points today. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve met the most amazing people here, people who are driven and multitalented yet humble, people who can engage me in hours of conversation on topics that they are passionate about, people who, cheesy as it sounds, inspire me with what I know they will contribute to the world.

So, what prompted me to reflect on the low points today was a phone call from back home, one that reminded me of a phrase I was taught to live by: “Always Blessed, Never Less.” Whether you’re religious or not, I think this mantra can be relevant to everyone. For me personally, it means praising God in every situation, especially the ones where I feel overwhelmed, because I have to remember that even if I don’t understand why I’m stuck in a seemingly insurmountable trial, my Father in heaven is still sovereign, still faithful. To paraphrase a sermon from my high school pastor: “We trust Him not because He promises to end every storm in our lives; we trust him because He is good.”

At times, it’s difficult to remember that being “blessed” isn’t a term reserved for the times when everything is good. Low points can be blessings in disguise, learning experiences that I don’t understand the purpose of in the moment, but will come to appreciate in hindsight. Although I’m happy where I’m at right now, I think I could’ve saved myself a lot of hair-pulling and anxiety if I’d kept this in mind earlier on. Within the first few weeks of college I found myself overwhelmed by the rigor of academics, the pressure to already have a career path drawn out, and of course, the expectation of still making time for extracurricular activities and a social life. I felt that I didn’t measure up to the caliber of everyone else here, and worried that I wouldn’t be able to succeed.

Of course, these things are still things I work at. I would be lying if I said that I didn’t fall into the trap of comparing myself with other people occasionally, but remembering that these obstacles serve a purpose has given me a lot more peace as of late. After all, I didn’t think I would make it out of my first quarter alive, yet here I am. I think when you remember that struggles are blessings too, you’re able to calmly take things one step at a time instead of stressing, believing that things will work themselves out for the better, and that when they do, you’ll understand why you went through the things you did.


Jacqueline Wibowow is a college freshman at the Stanford University in Stanford, California. Originally from San Diego, California, Jacqueline was a participant in the Distinguished Young Women program and was selected as the Distinguished Young Woman of California for 2014. Learn more about Jacqueline here!

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