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SENIOR COLUMN: Say “yes” to every opportunity

Mackenzie Ross - Photo courtesy of Catherine May

Mackenzie Ross

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I’m that girl. The one who lives by her calendar and uses sticky notes and highlighters to stay organized. I am an extrovert in the truest sense, and I thrive off staying busy and learning new things. While attending Bama Bound four years ago, I knew I wasn’t going to idly sit by and let college pass me by. I had a general idea of what I thought college would be like, but some of the best life lessons came when I least expected them.

Recently in one of my political science classes, it came to my attention that the majority of students on our campus do not know about the Autherine Lucy Clock Tower or the Malone-Hood Plaza – both symbols of progress and courage. Every day I hear students say they do not know where a building is, or they have no idea about all the ways to get involved on campus. Having served as a Capstone Woman for four years, it makes me sad that students walk across our campus every single day without any idea of the stories and history that make our University what it is or the many creative and personal-development opportunities UA provides.

So my first piece of advice is: Take part in the little things! Feed the ducks at Lakeside, participate in student programming, join a new club, take a tour of campus, visit a museum. You cannot experience college to the fullest if you do not intentionally embrace all of the opportunities around you.

This leads me to the second lesson I learned: Say “yes” to every opportunity. Freshman me thought she knew exactly what she wanted to get involved in during college, but now, I am beyond grateful for life’s twists and turns. Some of the most meaningful things I have been involved in throughout college were not part of my plan. But, as life usually goes, flexibility is the key to finding happiness and success!

Throughout college, every time someone asked me to join a new club, try out for a new role or take an interesting class, I tried to say “yes.” I consider it an honor and privilege to have met so many people across this campus and to develop an appreciation for all the different interests of our student body because I was willing to participate in every opportunity to get involved, meet new people or learn something new.

I have without a doubt been blessed in my four years at UA – winning awards, being selected for honor societies, serving in organizational leadership roles and meeting the best friends anyone could ask for. But, none of this would have been possible if I had not been intentional about relationships, campus involvement, and academic pursuits. None of it would have been possible if I hadn’t said “yes.”

It took me a while to learn that your sorority doesn’t define you. Your hometown or state doesn’t define you. Your friends don’t define you. Only you can define you. You can make these four years at the University whatever you want them to be. For me, the entirety and breadth of all these experiences are what define me and have made my undergraduate college experience unique.

The motivational speaker Les Brown once said, “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.” So, I encourage you to dream big! Learn new things and embrace your college experience, and above all, aim to say “yes” to every opportunity because you just never know where it might lead.

Mackenzie Ross is a senior majoring in public relations and political science. 

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SENIOR COLUMN: Say “yes” to every opportunity