I Believe in Living Moment to Moment

Author: Danielle Howard, TCU Student, Fall 2014

I did not have a typical High School experience. After dropping out of school and returning a year later, my only goal was to graduate as fast as possible. Senior year, I spent all of my time going to school and work, and going home to study. I wasn’t concerned with building relationships or having the social life that most teenagers have, and I didn’t realize that I was missing out on so many memories. Many people have stories of near death experiences and life-changing moments that led to clarification and inspiration, but my experience was much more than that. One single moment caused me to completely change the way I live.

Early one December morning during my Senior year, I woke up in excruciating pain. I could hear the steady beep of a heart monitor, and the muffled whispers of people nearby. When I opened my eyes, the fluorescent hospital lights made my headache spike to an unbearable level of pain. My mind was racing as I tried to summon up any memory from the previous night, but I came up blank. When I tried to turn my head, I realized that I had a neck brace on, and I was strapped to the bed, restricting my movement. This was the scariest moment of my life. My body was numb, and I was terrified and alone. I could hear the beep of the heart monitor picking up speed with my panic. When I opened my mouth I couldn’t form words, I could only cry.

Late the night before, I was in an accident that resulted in a Grade 3 Concussion. The impact paralyzed my diaphragm, leaving me unable to breathe. When I ran out of oxygen, my heart stopped. I didn’t regain a heartbeat for the eight minutes that it took the paramedics to arrive and begin defibrillation. When they shocked me for the fourth time, my heart miraculously restarted.

I don’t remember most of that night or the following weeks of recovery, but I do vividly remember the overwhelming regret that filled me when I realized that had the paramedics arrived just a few minutes later, that would have been the end of my life and up to that point, I hadn’t accomplished anything significant. I was stuck dwelling on the past and worrying about the future, and I was so busy trying to grow up that I forgot to live.

Because of that moment of impact, I am a living, breathing cliché. I believe in putting my all into everything I do, and never turning down an opportunity to make memories. I believe in living moment to moment and making peace with the past. I believe in acting now and thinking later, but never looking back with regret. I believe that sorrow is just as significant as joy because every experience we have shapes who we are. I believe in taking advantage of every moment we are blessed with, because one instant of impact can end everything.

I Believe in Growth

Author: David Jones, Jr, TCU Student, Fall 2014

Life is about changes. Life isn’t defined by remaining stagnant and staying within a comfortable environment; instead, life is better described by taking chances and doing things that aren’t as comfortable in order to grow as an individual. I’ve been told by my parents that in order to grow, I must first be willing to do the things that will challenge me and push me to my limits. It is through my own personal life experiences of success and failure that I have been able to experience the most growth.

I believe that growth is essential to life itself. For instance, in order for a baby to walk, it must grow both physically and cognitively. However, this infant cannot grow on its own. Their parents will provide avenues in order for it to grow. Some of these avenues include providing food and a safe environment for it to explore safely. Once the baby learns, how to crawl and move around on their knees, they build up muscles and neurons that allow them to coordinate movement. In this same instance, people everyday experience growth that helps improve their quality of life.

The last four years, which include high school and college, have changed me spiritually, mentally, and intellectually. Part of my high school and college life has been based on advice and assistance from my parents and friends. They have guided me to make better decisions as a young adult in high school, and these decisions have allowed me to make my own decisions towards the end of my high school career and most of my college undergraduate life. With these life experiences, I have been able to discern right from wrong, forge my own path, and decide what I want to do with my life for years to come. This, however, hasn’t been the result of just positive decisions. I am a believer and witness that you can grow from any experience despite the experiences being positive or negative. It is the negative aspects of life that can really influence one’s growth because you can realize what worked and what did not in order to not make the same mistake again. Even when you make mistake, you appreciate the positive moments even more which molds you into a better person. This growth isn’t a painless process as sometimes life will knock you against the wall. However, the key is to hold your bleeding and bruised head up, take the blows of fate, and continue with the journey called life. Growth is a wonderful thing if you are ready to get better and if you realize that mistakes don’t define your life. Embrace the growth as you will be better because of it.

If you can’t run, then walk. If you can’t walk, then crawl. Whatever happens, don’t stop moving forward. Growth is the evidence that your past isn’t hindering or imprisoning your soul.

I believe in getting yourself in over your head

Author: Alexis Lohse, TCU Student, Political Science Major, Published Fall 2012

I believe in getting yourself in over your head. I can say with all honesty that the best decisions in my life have been made during situations of extreme discomfort or duress. These have been times when I was confronted with new and sometimes frightening circumstances, often of my own making and sometimes quite intentional. Eleanor Roosevelt once quipped, “A woman is like a tea bag- you never know how strong she is until she gets in hot water.” Thanks to these trials, I have learned the true strength of my intelligence, patience, and perseverance.

The first time I was truly tested was at the age of 23 when I was married to an alcoholic and became pregnant. Up to that point, my life had been an aimless string of events and dead-end jobs, a period of time marked by a distinct lack of concern for my present and even less concern for my future. With the unexpected appearance of a “+” on the test strip, I instantly realized the gravity of my situation. Everything had changed. It was time for me to step up, whether I felt ready or not, because life was no longer just about me.

The subsequent 2 years of my life were an arduous metamorphosis. I managed a healthy pregnancy (without insurance), I gave birth to an 8 lb. baby (at home), I got a real grown-up job at an insurance company, and I divorced my husband. It was scary, it was difficult, and it was absolutely worth it.

More recently, I have intentionally created situations where I had to succeed under threat of fantastic failure. In the last 4 years, my life has undergone yet another total metamorphosis. After working in the marketing department of that same insurance company for over 5 years, I realized a change had to happen. I wanted more from life and it was time to challenge myself again. On a whim, I bought a house from my (new) in-laws and moved my family to Fort Worth. After trying for 10 months to find local employment, I eventually quit my steady job in Austin and went back to school at the age of 30.

The increased responsibility of a mortgage and the decreased security of a steady corporate job have made for some ulcer-inducing months, for sure. More than once I have wondered if I am being unreasonably selfish by pursuing my education at the expense of the financial security of my family. My parents never went to college, so I am striving to set a good example for my girls by getting my degree. I can only hope my daughters see how hard I am trying and are internalizing the same work ethic.

I know this is not the last time I will challenge myself. Even at my advanced age (31!), I will have many more opportunities to get myself out of (self-inflicted) hot water. I may not always succeed, but I am certain I will be better for having tried.

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 in the power of words

Author: Kaci Mayfield, TCU Student, Business Major

Published: November 6th, 2012

I believe in progress and timing. I believe if you have air in your lungs and two working legs you should continually be moving forward in the direction your head and your heart guide you. And if your head and your heart can’t seem to reach an agreement, go with your gut. And if that doesn’t work, call mom; she always knows what to do. I believe that there will be days where the only thing you accomplish is converting oxygen to carbon dioxide and that’s okay too. I believe each day you are given is a second chance to make up for what you couldn’t do the day before; each day also holds a new opportunity of its own. I believe in finding solace in missing your flight or bus or train, because you just may cross paths with a person who will impact your life or take you on an unexpected adventure.

I also believe in pain. I believe that unless you know gut-wrenching, heart stopping, I-can’t-breathe-because-it-hurts agony you will never truly understand moments of overwhelmingly boundless joy and love. I believe in heartbreak. I believe in struggles. I believe there is beauty in even the darkest of moments. I believe that if you can’t let go of it all, it will weigh you down. Most of all, I believe in pain because if you can feel it, you are still alive.

Lastly, I believe in the power of words. I believe that language can lift the spirit to new heights, and that it can also break it. I believe in songs that have lyrics that can disrupt your very soul, give you the chills, make you cry and laugh and change your outlook on life. I believe we should choose our words wisely because once they’ve been released to the universe; there is no taking them back. I believe the written word has the ability to transport the mind somewhere over the rainbow and down the road less taken, past Elysian Fields, Parnassus and the Hundred Acre Wood to Shangri La and back again. I believe that words can change people. I believe if people said what they meant and meant what they said the world would be a much better place. And I believe that if you are able to read these words, you are blessed beyond measure and should be grateful. I believe I am.