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Growing up, I have been fortunate to have many strong women in my life. These women have encouraged me, challenged me and taught me what it means to be myself. From teachers to friends to colleagues, they all have aided me throughout my childhood and I bring their lessons with me now to help me in college. Although I have been affected by many women in my life, I’d like to personally thank four women who have been there since the beginning. 

Firstly, I’d like to thank my grandma for teaching me independence. For my entire life she has embodied an independent woman who doesn’t need the support of any man. She lives life as she chooses to. She throws herself into her work and the things she is passionate about, such as her faith and her family. She projects confidence and an unshakable self-determination. She has shown me that I have control over my life, and that I don’t need a man in my life to be fulfilled or to find my purpose. She has taught me self-worth and self-reliance, two skills that I have taken with me into college. I’ve learned to trust myself and have confidence in the choices that I make. Thank you for helping me become who I am.

Next I’d like to thank my Aunt A. who has taught me that I can face any adversity thrown my way. There is no doubt that she has faced so many hardships in her life, more than most people should ever have to face. But, she has fought them all with grace. I’d like her to know that I see this in her. I see her strength and I am inspired by her strength everyday. It is an inner strength that not many people possess. She has shown me that things are going to go wrong in life and I am going to get hurt, but it isn’t how I fall that matters. What matters is how I choose to get back up again. College has knocked me down countless times, but because of her I know that I can keep pushing on. I am stronger than the obstacles around me, just like she is. Thank you for helping me become who I am.

I’d also like to thank my Aunt L. who has taught me to work hard to achieve my goals. She lives the life that most people aspire to. But she doesn’t live like this because it was handed to her, she lives like this because she worked to achieve it. She set a goal for herself and she did what she had to do to make that a reality. She didn’t allow those around her to distract her from what she wanted, or to deter her from the path that mattered to her. Her tenacity and work ethic inspire me. Still being so young, it is hard for me to realistically imagine my goals because they seem so far away. It is sometimes hard to keep motivated and to stay determined, but she makes me want to stay on my path. She makes me want to keep working towards my ambitions because I have it in me to achieve them. Thank you for helping me become who I am.

Lastly, I’d like to thank my mom for teaching me to stand up for what I believe in. My mom is one of the fiercest people that I know. She isn’t afraid to stand up and correct people when they’re wrong, or to give her opinion on things that matter to her. Although this trait is sometimes embarrassing to me, it really is something that I admire. She’s taught me that I shouldn’t be afraid of the thoughts or ideas that I have. She’s taught me that my beliefs are valid and deserve to be heard. I sometimes still struggle to stand up for myself, but she had taught me the importance of it. Every day I feel myself becoming more of a compassionate and confident person. She has encouraged me to never apologize for who I am. This support and this constant encouragement has gotten me to where I am today. Because of her, I know that I am capable and I am worth it. Thank you for helping me become who I am. 

The woman that I am today is due to these four women. They have inspired me and impacted my life in so many ways. I am so thankful to have had them in my life. I am so thankful for the strong, kind, confident woman I have become because of them. They have helped me become who I am today.

A lover of donuts, cheesy rom-coms, warm blankets, and the Chicago Cubs
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