LESSONS IN LIFE

Christina Brooks is from Dallas, Texas, and attends Texas A&M University – Commerce. She is currently in pursuit of her B.A. in Radio & Television, with particular interest in news anchoring, reporting and producing. She enjoys writing essays and articles on a wide variety of relevant and stimulating topics. An eight year veteran of the United States Army as a human resource specialist and soldier, Christina obtains extensive real-world experience in the realm of HR, personnel and administrative work. A skilled paratrooper, she endured a 15 month deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, and sustained countless hours of additional military training and qualifications necessary in accordance to Army regulations and procedures. After hanging up the uniform for good in December 2014, Christina leads the life of your average college student who is on the grind to academic success and perfecting the art of making ends meet.

 

Do you know who you are? No, I mean really know. Not your favorite song or the
name of your kitten when you were in second grade. Can you recite your strengths and
weaknesses? How about short­term and long­term goals? What is it that makes you shine,
makes you happiest and vice versa? Where do you see yourself thirty years down the
road? In short, the important question is what is your life’s purpose? Life purpose isn’t
supposed to be this extravagant fantasy, or bigger and better than the next person’s life
purpose; it is simply your own personal calling.Brooks, Page 2
Chances are, you were just not born knowing. Unless you had an incredible set of
parents, a mentor or a particular amount of real life experience directly contributing to your
personal development, you may not be able to answer all of those questions, not thoroughly
and honestly that is. If this is you, do not be discouraged because not knowing is not
uncommon. Not knowing does not mean you don’t have purpose.
Although learning this information early on in life is preferred, the truth is is that many
people live their lives for others, going through the motions, and not knowing why or what
they really want. Subconsciously you may be asking yourself, “Why would anyone ever lead
such a meaningless and unfulfilling life?” Please allow me to share a personal story.
Growing up, I was always a bright child. I remember being energetic, competitive,
artistic, and extremely curious. Unfortunately due to personal circumstances, the zest I had
for life slowly declined as I reached higher levels in grade school. As a young girl, I was
awfully introverted and lacked that special confidence that seemed to come so naturally to
my peers. Every day I felt this disconnect, and I was constantly embarrassed by this feeling
that set me apart from others. I continually struggled with mathematics which had a
negative impact on my motivation in other areas of my academics, and before long my
personal mantra was “I hate school”.Brooks, Page 3
At this point during my high school career, I was certain that I had absolutely no
interest in going to college. I knew nothing of it, and I had developed that nasty habit of
avoiding the unknown. I was hugely in my comfort zone. I knew I was headed for destruction
as I merely skated by in life, but I was at an even bigger loss on where to pick up the
pieces.
A nineteen year old college drop­out, I was shipped off to basic training on a dark
and unusual bus, scattered with faces too dark to see because it was 3 a.m. I will never
forget that morning or many mornings to come throughout my eight years serving in the
Army. I had no idea what I was getting myself into, all I knew is that I had absolutely nothing
to lose but hopefully everything to gain. My competitive spirit was on fire that morning and
everyday early on through my career. This fire allowed me to excel greatly as a soldier
amongst my peers, and also developed me personally. I continuously received praise,
acknowledgment, sometimes awards, and my confidence levels soared. Although the Army
can be at large, a tough job, I was known for my non stop smile. I loved what I did, I loved
the people around me, I enjoyed the grind.
Even still, I ignored college year after year, that responsibility loomed over me like a
scary rain cloud. I had successfully set myself up in another sweet comfort zone, only in a
different environment. It was the fear of the unknown, afraid of the fear I had in my
capabilities to get through something like college math. How insane is that?! I couldn’t
possibly stay in the military for the rest of my life, and I knew that somehow I’d have to makeBrooks, Page 4
myself get a degree. To sum all of this up, I was still unhappy. I lived day to day for a
mission that didn’t directly involve me. Life was good, but I was a worker bee. A workaholic.
I needed to find my next path in life to take me further, because something was missing.
Today, it is still a struggle of course but I assure you, a better one. One that is more
informed and more geared on the path towards things I want to see happen in my life. As of
last November, I hung up my uniform and became a civilian. The transition was nerve
wrecking, but I wasted no time getting into school. I’m studying broadcasting and journalism
full­time and also work part time. This is my second semester, and I have to say overall it’s
was only as scary as I made it. That’s usually how everything goes in life.
It took the better years of my youth to really learn things the hard way, taking a lot of
unnecessary paths just to get to where I am today, which is still far from finished! However,
I’ve enjoyed my journey and actually would never return those years for something new. It’s
something called invaluable experience.
Learning yourself and the things you really desire might come clear to you naturally
or through some sort of trial and error. And if it takes trial and error, don’t fret. Everything
you go through is a learning lesson, and that trial and error is teaching you something about
yourself. Once you discover what makes you who you are, you will soon start to realize your
purpose. Always remember to do what you want, responsibly of course, because you willBrooks, Page 5
never become who were meant to be by living a life for someone else, or living in the
comfort zone. You must get out there and take what’s yours, because yes, it is yours

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