Graduate Classroom Edition: Prepare Your Own TED Talk

Walks to the podium in the center of the classroom. Takes a deep breath. Stands straight and looks up directly at the audience. She counts to three inside her head, “one . . . two . . . three” and begins .

I have been replaying this very moment in my head for some time now. The task at hand is no easy task. We have all come to this very end . . . to share an “idea worth spreading.” Hmm, scary right? Well, think about it. Somehow, destiny has brought us all here together for this very special moment. Each one of us has been given this special gift to share our stories, ideas, and aspirations so that in return it may inspire and motivate others. However, we often criticize ourselves for not meeting a certain criteria that we have set forth. We often forget how special . . . and awesome . . . of a person we are . . . that we let outside forces to derail us from our journey of success. But I’m here today to tell you . . . that even on your worst days there is always . . . a silver lining.

At some point in our lives, we all experience a moment of trying times. Those gloomy moments seem very overwhelming on the surface but what you don’t see is a blessing in disguise. And that is your silver lining, a grasp of hope that gives you enough energy to keep moving forward.

About six months ago, I received a call from a “4-0-4” area code number. On the other end, a young lady asked to speak to me to set up an interview time. She was calling from a major global company in Atlanta. I felt ecstatic like I had just won an Oscar. And here I was, this small town girl, who somehow managed to make all the right moves and receive a call for an interview opportunity. Once I confirmed my interview over the phone, I set out to prepare myself for probably the most important interview in my life.  

Long story short . . . I did not land that internship opportunity. Yeah, I know. I was heartbroken too. Actually, after receiving my rejection e-mail, my whole world felt apart or so it felt like it. I began to let all these negative thoughts rush into my head. Like, what was I thinking? Did I actually think I had what it took to make it in the corporate world? I began to doubt myself and my abilities. I felt lost. I felt like a loser. I was very disappointed in myself for not landing this internship offer. I was being way too hard on myself.

What I failed to realize is that, on the contrary, I should have been proud of myself for even landing an interview spot and getting as far as I did in the interview process. We are talking about interviewing with one of the most influential and major global leading companies here. That’s a chance of a lifetime and most people don’t even get pass the application process. But in my moment of cloudiness, I failed to see just that. However, now I see my silver lining. Even though I did not get the offer to intern for this global corporate house, my journey for success did not come to an end there. That moment became the setting stone for a catalyst journey of self-discovery.

In addition, by not receiving an internship offer, I would not be here today to share my story with you all. To tell you that although one door closes, (trust and believe) another one will open. And we have all heard of this before. However, we fail to realize one thing . . . that maybe the reason that . . . that one door closed was because maybe it was not meant for us to enter that door, but instead it was to serve as a lesson to shape us for our next door of opportunities.  

In life we have lessons to learn and they come to us in a good or bad way—whether we like it or not. However, I believe that things happen for a reason. We have to hold onto that sliver of hope at the end of the each day. Because after every storm comes a calm. Maybe not in that moment—per se, but in due time it will. Believe that although you may have or are experiencing some dark days, know that you are not alone. Know that you are actually a lot stronger than you think you are. Know that no matter how many times life throws you a curve ball, know that YOU WILL SURVIVE.

. . .

It’s been five years now, since I have lost my mother to a rare neurological disease. Some days are easier than others. However, the silver lining to this story is that although she may no longer be here with me that does not mean that I cannot celebrate the legacy that she left behind. You may be thinking, how could there be a silver lining when someone so special to you has passed on?

Well, I can tell you it took some time to finally see the light. But what you have to realize is that . . . ONE, they are no longer suffering here on earth. TWO, their teachings and virtues that they have passed down to you play an important role in shaping you into the individual that you are today.

For instance,  my mother’s memories are bittersweet but I was blessed to have known a brave, strong, and tenacious woman like her. It is because of her values and strong spirit that I choose to become a fearless woman today. A woman who challenges the status quo, a woman who redefines what a Latina woman is, and a woman who will find a way to achieve her goals even though the odds may be against her.

That’s the silver lining to this chapter in my life. Throughout these adversities I realize that, although a love one may have moved on, their teachings and virtues make an imprint on us. They play an important role in shaping us into stronger individuals. Because, sometimes we are meant to be greater than what we have envisioned for ourselves.

Essentially, these tough times help you see and acknowledge the important things that really truly matter in life. And even after the storm has passed we may have to take some time to reflect and reevaluate our lives.

And that’s how you find your silver lining.

When life is not going as planned, redirect your energy and stop focusing on the negative. Don’t compare your life to others. Instead take a step back and look at the big picture. Count your blessings. Be grateful when you get to see another tomorrow. For life has given YOU a second chance to better yourself and make a difference today.

Take the time to unravel your silver lining and sometimes it may take some time before it all makes sense.

Realize that you have a special journey and your own set of victories along the way that will eventually shape your character. We all have our own story to share. Maybe our story will inspire, motivate, or even help someone find healing.

These silver lining moments help us to wake up every morning and make sense of this journey we call life. Maybe just maybe, our silver lining is a blessing in disguise.

Thank you.


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