I Believe in the Power of the AHA, by Mikaela Miller

The patient sat on a piece of plywood resting on two school desks, hand exposed through sterile blue sheeting. The surgeon leaned over, allowing the sunlight streaming through the barred window to be his guide as he carefully pulled a scalpel through the skin around the man’s knuckle. The man stared calmly off into the light, willing his stomach to settle, but there was a certain look of relief and thrill in his eyes. Today was the day that a piece of shrapnel that had made its home inside his thumb for 8 years would finally be removed. There was a resounding ding as the sliver hit the bucket, and the man glanced down and expelled a sigh.

Fast forward a few hours and we are packing up for the day, passing boxes of prescriptions, glasses, and linens towards the bus assembly line style. The man reappears, a huge grin consuming his face despite the pain that is slowly overcoming him from the fading anesthesia. “Gracias, gracias” are the words falling, falling from his mouth when the ‘aha!’ moment strikes.

This is what I want to do. This is who I want to forever serve.

For a girl that had dreamed of doing anything but medicine, this was a huge revelation. It came exactly two weeks before I checked “Biology — Pre-Med” on my first college application, and long after that life-changing trip, I am still wearing the pre-med badge and dreaming of the day that I can return and be the life-changer.

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TIB Mikaela Miller

Mikaela Miller is a junior Biology major, minoring in Mathematics and Chemistry, on the Pre-Medicine track. Originally from Chandler, Arizona with roots in Seattle, Washington and a new home in Fort Worth, Texas, she hopes to find a little piece of “home” across the nations through travel and medical mission work. 

 

I Believe Everything Happens for a Reason by Regina Andonie

Out of all people, why me? The question I would always ask my doctors. A moment of silence would always come after my question. As I begin changing my lifestyle into a healthier one, my symptoms get worst every time, pain increases and doctors have not solutions for it.

I believe everything happens for a reason. As we all know it, life is like a puzzle. We see our own life as a mess most of the time.  Just take a moment to close your eyes, take a deep breathe and picture yourself in the future. Where do you see yourself a couple of years from now?

As no one ever was able to answer my one question, I began to see these “problems” as challenges. From that moment on, I understood that challenges will always appear on the road, some will be bigger than others, and some will be more challenging than others. However, every challenge has a purpose and that purpose is to make us stronger and lead us to the road of success.

What if we fail? The question most of us fear. I believe failure is the best part of it. Actually, it is the first and most important step to success. Behind failures come learned lessons and strengthened weaknesses that will prepare us for greater challenges.

As I am still in my journey of understanding myself and getting to know my own body, I realize how beautiful life is and try to look at the bright side of everything. What I mean is, the problem is there and will always be there. The only option is learning how to live with it, but that depends on how you want to deal with it. Look at it as something positive, as a challenge that God has put in your life and take it slowly. At the end, it will always make sense and see all the puzzle pieces put together.

During that moment, challenges may sound irrational and unnecessary. Once you overcome them and look back at them, you will finally understand the reason behind it, you will then realize that every piece of the puzzle is coming together.

You are the only person who can build your own story and it all depends on how you want to write it. Therefore, I challenge you from now on to completely change your mind about how you see real life and just think about the present, which will make the story of your past and define your future. At the end, you will be able to think back, and see how everything perfectly fits together, just like a puzzle.

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TIB Regina Andonie

I am Regina Andonie, current sophomore at Texas Christian University majoring in Interior Design with a minor in Lighting. 

I Believe in Failure, by Rev. Robyn Bles

I believe in failure.  As a self-avowed perfectionist I have come to accept failure as a lifelong companion and teacher.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I hate failure.  Always lurking around the corner, failure was the long time the frenemy who I dreaded showing up to sabotage my big plans.  My first real experiences of failure happened right on TCU’s campus.  Breezing through high school I showed up to my freshman year thinking my usual good attendance and class participation were adequate tools for the academic rigors of college coursework.  While C’s and D’s are not technically failing, I’m sure most TCU students would agree with me that these sorts of grades were not the level of success I was accustomed to.  That first year of academic embarrassment made me check my arrogance at the door and grace the walls of the library, finally developing those much needed study skills.  Thankfully, my friend failure taught me the appreciation of hard work and the value of a truly earned A.  Though I only achieved one A on a paper in the Religion Department’s God in Modern Thought, taught by Dr. Grant, that A is still one of my greatest academic achievements.

Failure was not only my hardcore academic teacher, but also saw me through the heart-bruising affects of dissolving friendships and breakups.  Those four years at TCU were some of the happiest and most difficult years of my life.  Who knew that failing so often and with such humiliating flair would actually be good for you?  I certainly didn’t think that was part of the process, and when it happened I sure wasn’t capable of asking for help – failure wasn’t part of the achievement plan … right?

I can’t say exactly what caused me to change my perspective; perhaps it was finally being too tired of hiding my failures behind a perfectionist shroud, finding a good counselor, or just really beginning to embrace these moments as part of my life.  When I thought my life was all about avoiding failure I couldn’t fully face what was behind those moments; but when I started to accept them I began to see failure everywhere.  Not only in my life, but in everyone’s!  From the very beginning we start out falling down, again, again, and again, until we’re finally capable of taking that first independent step.  It’s through a series of failures that we finally grow, learn, and develop compassion for others and ourselves as we all struggle in the process of becoming.

Though I was fortunate enough to experience my first devastating failure at a point when I had a little maturity and life experience, this past year my daughter experienced failure at a much too young age.  At 3 days old my healthy baby suffered a heart attack and stroke due to a series of failed surgical safety precautions.  Through no fault of her own, failure has dramatically changed the course of her life.  My husband and I are providing all the therapeutic and medical assistance she needs to recover, but as her mother, one of the greatest ways I can help my daughter is to teach her that failure is not the enemy.

Almost every day I still wish this hadn’t happened to her and our family, but I also remind myself that not only do we fail many times in our lives, but the failure of others also affects us.  What is important to remember, however, is that these failures do not define who we are.   The sum of all our failures is not the value of who we are, but rather, how we respond to these failures shapes the people we become.  I still can’t say I like failure, and there are times that I downright hate it.  But I also know that while my daughter has a long road ahead of her, at 8 months old her strength and tenacity have already proven stronger than any failure.  We are years away from knowing the full extent of her recovery and I worry about how her peers will perceive her difference, but the results of this failure remind me many good things are still to come.  The people that surround her and our family have shown me that rather than hiding, sharing our failures allows authentic community and support to come alive.  Her story and courage have quite literally created a global community of prayer, support, and celebration of her many mighty accomplishments.  Her whole life might have changed on that day because of failures, but that does not mean she will fail at living a full and rich life.  We might be connected to one another through our failures, but we’re also interconnected in our shared growth and discovery because of these moments.  I believe the ways we hold one another in these fragile moments makes us better people and a better community.  I hope you’ll fail boldly and compassionately.

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GA TIB BOOK Robyn BlesRev. Robyn Bles was a TCU student from 1999-2003 and no matter where she has lived remains a Horned Frog fan. She currently lives in Des Moines Iowa with her husband Jordan, daughter Milly, and extremely friendly golden retriever Stella.  She gratefully serves with the fabulous people of West Des Moines Christian Church.  Go Frogs!

I Believe in Presence, by Dr. Don Mills

Independence is a good thing.  Taking care of yourself is what adults do.  Adversity is a challenge best overcome with your innate strength and talents.  Generally that has worked for me throughout my life.  Or so it seemed to me.  When I was recently diagnosed with a serious illness, my attitude was “ok, I can do this.”  I researched, prayed, planned and plunged forward with surgery, radiation and drug therapy.  I did what the science said, missed as little work as possible and decided that this was another battle that I would win using the skills and strengths I have.

The doctors told me this was difficult and that I should consider a support group.  Not me!  This was my battle and I would fight, with my family by my side, and win.  I was in for a surprise – an awakening no doubt but not a rude one!

The physical part of my fight was relatively easy.  There were symptoms and side effects, but basically not too difficult.  But I was unprepared for the emotional journey.   I tried to keep this bottled up.  After all, this was my problem and I would solve it.

I began to get calls and notes from people who had experienced a similar challenge in their lives.  I thought that was so kind and considerate.  Then I began to realize that each time, I felt a little better.  My colleagues at TCU were phenomenal.  Their genuine care buoyed me when I really needed propping up.   It really hit me when I went to radiation.  There I met many people in the same situation as me.  People who I would not normally meet.  Engineers, truck drivers, school teachers, politicians, ranchers.  And we talked.  About our families, our careers, our hopes, our fears.  We laughed.  We cared about each other in very significant ways.  I began to realize that I looked forward to radiation every day.  Not for the treatment.  But for the company of these strangers who had entered my life – and had made it richer and better.

This experience reconfirmed to me what I believe and now know with absolute certainty.  God gives us what we need, when we need it.  The key is to know what we need.  As I reflect on the many years at TCU, I remember again and again that when I needed it, it seemed the right person entered my life, whether student, colleague, mentor or parent. I rediscovered that the delivery vehicle of God’s grace and God’s goodness and God’s compassion is packaged in thousands of different ways.  And in packages I might not have picked if it were up to me.  I know the corollary to this belief as well.  I must be prepared to be the vehicle of God’s grace for someone else who needs it – even if they don’t know it.  That, I believe, is how God works in this complex, noisy and fragile world.

Author: Dr. Don Mills, Distinguished Professor of Educational Leadership, Spring 2015

 

Mills, DonDon Mills has spent the last 46 years at TCU.  After 42 years in administration (the last 18 as Vice Chancellor), he left administering for professing in 2011. He is now Distinguished Professor of Higher Education Leadership where he initiated the doctoral program.  He is especially interested in the concepts of community, higher education renewal, and engagement.  Don has a wonderful wife, two terrific children and three beautiful, talented grandchildren.

I believe in my Uncle Tommy

Author: Katie Rhatigan, TCU Student, Nursing major, Published fall 2012

I believe in my Uncle Tommy. Last year he was diagnosed with cancer and currently he is in remission, still living his life to the absolute fullest.

My uncle is the wild child of his family. He had the long hair, tattoos, and earrings, is extremely tall, and has the sense of humor that would have you laughing within a minute of meeting him. He has the built of a lion and the heart of an angel. He is a carpenter and has a passion for building anything he can. This man is so much more than just my uncle and role model, he is also my godfather.

Growing up, I was not fortunate to see him often because he was engulfed with his work and lived a couple hours away. That never impacted our relationship though. I would talk to him on the phone and his positive attitude would always leave me feeling happy and optimistic. Whenever I did see him, I would receive the biggest hug of my life and I would never want to leave. His stories from his childhood were always the greatest, like when he would tell me about his car and how it was the coolest one on the block because it had a huge engine and the ladies loved his GTO. I used to listen to stories about him driving it and I could see him reliving his experiences. He is satisfied with life and lives each day to the fullest.

After he was diagnosed with cancer, it was like nothing had changed. Work was still part of his everyday life and he carried on as usual. He had the overwhelming love and moral support from his family to help him get through it all. I am not going to say that there were no hard or low points during his treatment process but I will say that he rarely showed them. Through this whole experience, he has been able to reconnect with the family more and even some friends from his past. My uncle can do whatever he sets his mind to do. When he first started Kung Fu, he did not stop until he got his black belt and when he decided he wanted to learn the guitar, he mastered it. This determination is what allowed him to beat the cancer. Ultimately, he stuck to his daily routine, kept a smile on his face, and kept doing the things that he loved.

Through my Uncle Tommy, I have learned to be unselfish and cherish each moment I have because at any time, my life can change. When I am having a bad day, I think about him and how even through it all, he still will walk around making other people happy. He inspires me to live each day like it’s my last, to do what I want to do, to do what makes me happy.
There will be challenges in life but nothing that I cannot get through. I believe that through perseverance, love, and hope, I can do anything with a smile on my face.

I believe in persistence

Author: Ian Hirtz, TCU Student, Strategic Communications Major

I believe in myself. I was diagnosed with the learning disabilities of ADHD and Dyslexia at a young age. It started in third grade when my parents began receiving calls from my teachers about my progress in the classroom.

I fell behind as a result. I had trouble reading and paying attention. I was too young to understand what was happening to me, and I felt stupid compared to the other kids in my class. I was pulled out of school and placed in another school for kids with learning disabilities, “The Joy School.” My new school’s goal was getting me caught up with my peers so that I could attend a normal school again.

I never gave up hope and still believed I could persist through this challenge bestowed upon me. My mother was there to show me ways to deal with my disability — she believed and it helped me believe in myself.

I began developing a daily routine that I followed every day. I would wake up, brush my teeth, have all my daily belongings on my shelf so I wouldn’t forget anything, eat breakfast, grab my backpack next to the front door and off I would go to school. I repeated this every day of my life and still do.

I then started seeing a psychiatrist, who gave me medication to help me focus. I told myself I would never let this stop me from doing anything I want to do in life.

Being diagnosed at a young age has given me a different perspective on life. I never take anything for granted and never will. I have worked hard for all that I have accomplished to this point in my life.

Do not ever let anyone tell you that you can’t do something. Life is full of obstacles and with the right drive, you can overcome anything you want.

You have to believe. I started in a normal school in third grade, transferred to The Joy School for five years, gained acceptance into a Catholic High School and now attend a prestigious university.

 

 

I believe that true grieving only happens when you are honest

Author: Elizabeth Leach, TCU Student, Environmental Science Major

Published: November 6th 2012

When you experience the death of a close family member at a young age like I did, you don’t realize the impact it has on your life until much later. My father died from a heart attack when I was eight years old. I saw him on his death bed and I said goodbye to him when he was no longer with us. His funeral was quite possibly the most impersonal thing I had ever been to. I was surrounded by all these “family members” who I had never met before, and who never spoke to me after that day. I just said “thank you” when they expressed their condolences. Being a military dependent, it was recommended that I see a psychologist until they believed I was “emotionally stable.” The doctor turned out to be just another stranger that didn’t trigger my need to grieve. The unsuccessful sessions lasted for three years.

I was just starting high school when I grieved for the first time. My mom was on deployment for seven months, and though I had someone to stay with me, I was alone. All the feelings I had been burying for years erupted and I caused myself and those around me a lot of pain. I misbehaved, I started failing on purpose, and I refused to talk to anyone about my dad. I was envious of all the kids who had two parents because I felt like I had none.

Finally, when my mom took notice of my behavior, she tried to understand why I was being so strange. I was always a good kid, and everything I had been doing was so unlike me. When I spoke to her, I got angry and I yelled and I blamed her. She was never there. Even before my dad died, she was always working. “I’ve never even seen you cry for him,” I said. I wanted her to hurt like I was hurting. That was, until I realized that all this time she had been. I had no idea that she was hiding so much pain. I found out that she had been diagnosed with depression and a range of several other medical problems since my dad’s death. We both learned a lot about each other and ourselves that day. I realized that my mom and I had both been trying to protect each other. My mom hid her grieving from me in the hope that I would be oblivious to such pain. I never allowed feelings of grief to enter my mind because I didn’t want my mom to worry. Little did we know, we were building up more pain for each other because it all exploded later. What we both needed was genuine communication. Our feelings needed to be discussed, not tucked away neatly in our minds somewhere.

Since that first instance of grief, I have cried for my dad several times. He did not see me graduate from high school, and he won’t be there when I get my bachelor’s degree or when I get married. I will never hear him call me “sugar” or “pumpkin” again and he will never take me out to buy new books to read. And, I’ll never get to ask him about his life and what it was like before I came along, but I will be able to ask my mom what her life was like. She was there when I graduated from high school and she will see my bachelor’s degree and meet my husband. She still calls me her princess and buys me new Star Wars books every time they come out. Most importantly, every year on March 1, we grieve for my father who we both miss and who we both reminisce about together.

I believe that true grieving is only possible when you are honest with yourself and your loved ones. The people who know you better than anyone are the only ones who have the ability to support your pain. I believe that ignoring feelings can lead to suffering and that you should express them in some way before they cause pain. I also believe that there is no right time to grieve. When you try to force someone to realize a loss, it only shuts them down further. Everyone has a different way and pace of mourning, but eventually their feelings do come to the surface and once they do, all you can do as a loved one is be with them physically and emotionally.