By Alexandra Hochstetler
Distinguished Young Woman of Indiana for 2013
“If you want something done, ask a busy person to do it. The more things you do, the more you can do.” – Lucille Ball
We’ve all heard it said before: “Don’t stretch yourself too thin.” I can’t even count the number of times in my life I have been told this. But to me, being involved – being busy – does not mean that I can’t take time for myself. It only means that I have been forced to become a more organized and planned person. With that said, let me introduce myself.
My name is Alex. I worship my planner and to-do lists. I study 20 hours a week and am in class for 23 hours a week. I am involved in 10 student organizations on the IUPUI campus, and hold leadership positions in 6 of those 10. I am an academic mentor and teacher in the Chemistry department. I am a proud and active Alpha Sigma Alpha Sorority Woman. I volunteer every week. I run every day. I still practice piano three or four hours a week. I am on track for a 4.0 my first semester in college. I have a large network of friends across grade levels and backgrounds. I am the Distinguished Young Woman of Indiana. And I am absolutely exhausted reading that list – especially when I think about how much I am forgetting to mention.
During this semester I have been challenged in ways I didn’t know were possible. I have accomplished more than I thought I could, and I have been trusted with more responsibility than I thought I deserved. This only happened because I was willing to grow as a person. True growth only occurs in a person when they are pushed outside of their comfort zone. Doing things that are outside of your comfort zone – including pushing the limits of your abilities – is the best way to surprise yourself. In the words of Teddy Roosevelt, “when you are asked if you can do a job, tell ’em, ‘Certainly I can!’ Then get busy and find out how to do it.” Part of my success this semester, and in life, was being willing to take on new challenges. It doesn’t matter to me if I don’t think I can do something, because I know that unless I try, I will not reach my full potential. At the very least I can give it my best effort. And, hey, I might even learn something about myself in the process.
My advice to everyone reading this is to NEVER, EVER, EVER, sell your abilities short. Never say, “I can’t do that,” “I don’t know how to do that,” “I don’t have time to do that,” or “I don’t feel I’m qualified to do that.” Instead say, “I will give that my best effort.” I guarantee you will become a better person because you tried something outside of your comfort zone. While you do need to take care of your body, realize that the best thing you can do for your physical, mental, and social health is to live outside of that comfort zone. The things that are outside of your comfort zone are what make life worthwhile, interesting, and ultimately, make you a successful person. Go out and get busy!
Alexandra Hochstetler is a college freshman at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis in Indianapolis, Indiana double majoring in Biology and Medical Humanities and minoring in both Chemistry and Spanish. Originally from Middlebury, Indiana, Alexandra was a participant in the Distinguished Young Women program and was selected as the Distinguished Young Woman of Indiana for 2013. Learn more about Alexandra here!