I have a very long, like extremely long, laundry list of things I want to do in my life – a bucket list, if you will. I aspire to visit all 50 states, publish a book, have my writing published for a national magazine/outlet, obtain my Master’s Degree, become a Vice President (or higher!) of a company and, of course, a whole lot of other things.
Regardless, I think it’s important to be able to look back and reflect on the things you have accomplished as you work your way towards the things you want to accomplish. While I have not done everything, I hope to be able to one day. So, here’s a look back at a few things I’ve already accomplished in my 22 years.
1. Attended the Olympics
I can’t begin the list and not start off by mentioning my most amazing, international (and sometimes, still unbelievable) adventure. About 5 months ago, I set sail (or really, boarded an airplane) to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to spend 3 weeks in the 2016 Summer Olympics host city. I was afforded this opportunity by my university, and was able to both immerse myself in the culture and the city of Brazil, while also taking part in the fun that was the Olympics. I was able to visit Brazilian landmarks, such as Sugarloaf Mountain and Christ the Redeemer, as well as three Olympic games.
Not only was this my first trip outside of the United States, but it was my first Olympics, my first South American adventure and my first multi-week-long trip. While I’m sure I’ll do plenty more interesting things in my life, this may always be the best. If you want to hear more about my Rio adventures, check out my blog post on the experience!
At the Men’s Gymnastics meet in Rio
On top of Christ the Reedemer
In front of Sugarlaof Mountain on my way up
2. Obtained my Bachelor’s Degree
So, technically, I’m don’t have my Bachelor’s Degree yet, but I’m only four months shy of it. Therefore, I’ve already put in the bulk of the work. Not to mention, my application to graduate has also already been approved.
I decided to include this milestone because, as I quickly approach my degree, I’ve increasingly found how impressive it truly is to be able to graduate from college. Growing up, I never thought much of a college degree. Where I’m from, it’s something that you simply do, not always something that you work towards. However, as the years have gone on, and the more I’ve realized how many people don’t have the opportunity to attend college or simply don’t finish their degree, I’ve grown to appreciate and value my education more. I think finishing my Bachelor’s Degree in 4 years – without ever once changing my major or minor – is a pretty impressive feat.
3. Wrote the president (and got a response!)
When I was nine in third grade, our class read a book on the president of the United States. In this book, it discussed how American citizens could write the president. With a pencil and a piece of paper, I wrote a letter to President George W. Buh at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Though I have no idea what was in that letter, to my surprise, I received a response from the president just a few months later. This was only the beginning of my love for government and civic duty.
4. Graduated high school at an NFL stadium
I don’t think many people can say they graduated high school at the same stadium their favorite NFL team plays at every Sunday. However, I certainly can! My high school graduation was held at Lucas Oil Stadium, the home of the Indianapolis Colts. While high school graduation is already an accomplishment and excitement in itself, I have to say it was pretty awesome to be able to walk out onto the field feeling like Andrew Luck (with a little less of a crowd). If you want to read a really old, but still well-written post, check out “Changes”, a blog post I wrote a few weeks after high school graduation.
June 8, 2013. Graduation at Lucas Oil Stadium (home of the Colts!)
5. Had dinner with the 48th Vice President of the United States
My senior year of high school I was apart of a government debate team of sorts called “We the People”. Like many other students who found themselves in that class, I was interested in government and found myself wanting to learn more about our Constitution. Appropriately, my time in this organization fell during the 2012 Presidential Election, also the first time I could legally vote.
That year, congressperson Mike Pence was running for Governor of Indiana. He and his family relocated from Washington, D.C. to Indianapolis for his gubernatorial race. So, my senior year, his daughter, Audrey, enrolled in my high school, as well as my “We the People” class. Political beliefs aside, that year during his election, Mike Pence visited our weekly practices and even mentored my team one-on-one at one practice. After our competition season was over, Mike Pence and his family had our entire class over for dinner in the Governor’s Mansion he had recently moved in to.
Though I can’t say I agree with the things that Vice President Elect, Mike Pence, does, I did think it was pretty cool when he became our next Vice President and I realized I once had dinner at his home. (Strangely enough – I didn’t get a picture with VP Pence. However, you can see a bit of his head in the background in the second picture). You can also check out my experience with Mike Pence by reading this old blog post, “Sweet Home Indiana”.
With WTP teammates
WTP team with our mentor. You seen see VP Pence in the background