As graduation looms, Christina King—a graduating senior who has managed to leave a lasting impact both on her peers and on her community—reflects on her journey to find her passion.
Coming into high school, I wanted nothing more than to get in, take a few honors courses, do a little colorguard, and get out, with aspirations of becoming a famous journalist. Nothing too difficult, nothing too boring, just a simple high school experience.
What I got instead was nothing like I expected, and for that I am forever thankful.
It was my sophomore year, and I had the rare opportunity to study abroad for an entire month; I went for creative writing, hoping to improve my skills for the English major I planned to achieve. What I got instead was an entirely new view on the society I live in, one that has impacted my life every day since, and one that I hope will affect you today.
My best friend in the program dreamed of becoming a human rights lawyer, and thus asked me to attend a talk on human trafficking with her given by iSanctuary, a non-profit. Honestly, I grumbled a little to myself about how boring the talk would probably be, but regardless decided to go.
It was there, at that “boring” talk that I realized something major, something I want you to know: Our world is scarcely what we see. This isn’t America, the land of the free. This is America, a land ridden with slaves, with prisoners behind invisible bars. This is America, where things really are remarkable, and where people really are living on the streets; people really are hungry; people truly need help.
And we are the generation that can change it.
We are all given a voice to speak for those who can’t, given two hands to help others. It is because of that one little talk that I dream of becoming a humanitarian, and because of that one hour that today I have the chance to work one-on-one with survivors of human trafficking every week. The smallest things make the biggest impact.
We all have the power to change just one life, and to do that is to begin to change the world. So why not do it? We are an age of privileges, of technology. Yet we are also an age that forgets. To make a difference doesn’t mean adopting from Cambodia, or even going out and giving every disadvantaged peer you meet a dollar for lunch.
On the contrary, leaving an impact, leaving your little infinity, starts with the most minute of things. Smile at someone. Send your friends encouraging words. Love yourself, and from there, you can love the world. Find what your calling is, whether it be math, or literature, or anti-trafficking, and run with it! Each of us can be the next Nelson Mandela or Mother Teresa. So why not?
Getting involved is too easy; an email or a phone call can start a road that leads you to fulfillment. They say that the younger generation is the future, and the only way we can form that future beautifully is to make it so now. There is only one chance to do high school: to experience little pieces of the world all at once, to find yourself. The more you try the more you will know, and getting involved in everything you can, from your school, to your church, to your local charities will open doors to brighter places.
For me, I cannot wait to see what more I can experience in college: I have already become such a better version of myself due to the chances I took in high school, I definitely believe each of us can do the same.