By Sierra Terrell
Distinguished Young Woman of Maryland 2012
You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself any direction you choose.
When reading this quote, one can’t help but to recall their childhood where they once read Dr. Seuss’ book, Oh, the Places You’ll Go. We remember the big, colorful pictures fueling our imagination as the story was read aloud to us. Then, eventually the proud moment when we realized that we were capable of reading it all on our own. However, after stumbling upon this book this past summer, I realized this book goes further than just relating to our childhood-selves.
It was one of those nights that I found myself worrying if my past accomplishments were enough for what was to come ahead. I knew my anxiety was only so intense since I was about to leave for college all the way down in Alabama in less than a month. So I tried to calm myself down and just go to sleep, but I found myself tossing and turning. Once I got up, it was then that I saw the book staring at me from a book shelf.
Page after page, sentence after sentence; each word jumped out at me. Those words, those simple words, made all my “complicated” situations seem easy-going. My worries about leaving my family and friends behind in Maryland and attending Troy University were eased by another quote from this emotive book, “Congratulations! Today is your day. You’re off to Great Places! You’re off and away…It’s opener, out there, in the wide, open air.”
Immediately, this quote made a big impact on me. It helped me to understand that there are so many opportunities to be grasped beyond my backyard. Sometimes we get so hung up on the fear of change and the fear of leaving what we have known all our life, that we forget that there’s an entire world out there waiting for us to leave our mark. Don’t get me wrong, change is definitely scary; especially when just about everything in your life is changing. However, if we focus on our goals and always remember to just be our best self (thanks to Distinguished Young Women, I truly understand what that means now), then change will be a wonderful, new journey.
The message I received from the story was simple. In life, no matter who you are, there will be ups and there will be downs, but the downs should never deter you from the fact that what makes you, you and remembering to think before you step will get you far. I realized that life really is just a series of choices and only I have control over what I do and what is to come.
At the end of the day, it is important to always remember the previous lessons that were taught to us. It is the simple messages we were given when we were young that we must keep with us throughout this journey known as ‘life’ in order to keep our spirits high and our ambition strong. Oh, the Places You’ll Go! may be a children’s book, but it contains key values to success and true happiness:
“So be sure when you step, Step with care and great tact. And remember that life’s A Great Balancing Act. And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed! (98 and ¾ percent guaranteed) Kid, you’ll move mountains.”
Sierra Terrell is a college freshman at Troy University in Troy, Alabama majoring in Psychology. Originally from Waldorf, Maryland, Sierra was a participant in the Distinguished Young Women program and was selected as the Distinguished Young Woman of Maryland for 2012. Learn more about Sierra here!