Living It Up “Be Your Best Self” Style


By Mackenzie Ross
Distinguished Young Woman of Mississippi for 2013

It’s that time of year again!!!!  April 21-25 is National Be Your Best Self Week, and all across the country Distinguished Young Women will be encouraging people to live healthy, involved, studious, ambitious, and responsible lives.  When I won my local Distinguished Young Woman program over two years ago, I became incredibly eager about the opportunity to share the BYBS message, and ever since then, I have strived to encourage people to live to their fullest potential.  The month of April is a very exciting time for the entire Distinguished Young Women family as we promote this program we are so passionate about, but our message extends far beyond this one week each year.  Instead, we should strive to be our best selves ALL day EVERY day!
In the past, I have loved speaking to children and young teenagers about why it’s important to exercise the five characteristics of the Be Your Best Self program, but today I want to focus on how everyone (especially young adults) can live out this lifestyle.
Be Healthy– I know it’s hard to avoid that cookie, so don’t!  It’s okay to indulge every once and a while, but you must have balance!  Choose to walk to class today instead of driving, and plan on drinking a bottle of water instead of soda.  Mental health is just as important as physical health, so be sure to take a study break and hangout with your friends.  I promise you’ll feel much more relaxed!
Be Involved– Have you heard about a new club that sounds interesting?  Go check it out! You’ll never know if you like it until you try it.  Don’t over commit yourself, but find a few things you are passionate about and stick with them!
Be Studious– Learning is for kids…WRONG!  You can never stop learning!  Being studious doesn’t mean you have to be a brainiac; it just means you are actively pursuing knowledge. Take a class simply because it sounds interesting, or read a book instead of watching television.  Aim to learn something new everyday!
Be Ambitious– You want to climb Mount Everest?  Then do it!  Just because your goals are a little lofty does not mean they are unattainable.  Remember: “If your dreams don’t scare you, they’re not big enough.”  Make a goal and create a plan to achieve it!
Be Responsible– Remember that three-page paper you have due tomorrow?  It is not going to write itself.  Next time, try planning ahead of time so you’re not cramming at the last minute.  I know life gets crazy, but I suggest buying a calendar to help keep life in order!
I hope my suggestions were helpful, and I hope you find a way to exercise each BYBS element.  But most importantly, I want you to be YOU!  This program is not about you striving to be me or me trying to be you.  The purpose of this program is to encourage each of us to be the best individual we can possibly be.
Just a few things to keep in mind:
Don’t compare yourself to others.
Don’t try to be someone you’re not. 
Don’t act differently around different groups of friends.
Don’t give up!!!!!
Most importantly, remember the purpose of the Be Your Best Self program is not to encourage you to be really awesome for just one week, anyone can do that.  We want you to strive to be your very best 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, by continually pushing yourself to achieve your fullest potential, then you are truly “distinguished” in every way possible.
Mackenzie Ross is a college freshman at The University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Alabama majoring in Public Relations and minoring in Political Science. Originally from Meridian, MississippiMackenzie was a participant in the Distinguished Young Women program and was selected as the Distinguished Young Woman of Mississippi for 2013. Learn more about Mackenzie here!


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