by USjournal Student Writer: Rebecca Darrup, Cross-Country Cowgirl
"Hey, where are you staying when the team spends the week in Arizona?
"Do you need someone to go to Amarillo with you?"
"I can feed your horses for you when you go home!"
"Are you sure you ate today?"
"Swing your rope like you mean it!"
"Hey, I thought you had class at 6 o'clock... It's 5:50...!?"
"You really don't need to leave for the rodeo that early, but gosh dang, you need to sleep, girl!"
Does anybody else have friends that sound like that?!
I don't know about you, but I'd sure have trouble getting through life without having my friends looking out for me. To me, this is one of the best things about my little community college in my little "nothing" town -- my best friends have all come into my life since I've been at college. Mesalands Community College is tiny, and so is Tucumcari, New Mexico, where the school is located, but it makes the town, the students, and especially the rodeo team more tightly knit. Regardless of what you need, there's someone who can help you. Throughout life, I've found that God has a funny way of putting the people you need right where you need them, right exactly when you need them.
My parents have always helped me, and now that I'm at college, it's become so much more obvious to me just how many people it takes for me to be able to do what I love. There are so many people who I need on my side in order for me to make it to a rodeo, compete well, keep my grades up, and make sure I'm taking care of myself. From the professors who help me when I struggle with a concept in class, to the guys on the team helping me with my roping and holding the goat for me to practice my goat tying or videotaping my barrel runs for me, to the coaches pushing me to be a little faster and a little better, to my friend A'Lia who travels with me everywhere and deals with my grumpiness when I don't compete as well as I know I can, to my parents and the school supporting me financially... I couldn't do it without all of those people, or those who don't know me who bring a word of encouragement at just the right time without ever knowing what that meant to me.
Remember those passions I mentioned in my last article? What does it take for you to be able to chase your dreams? Who do you help to take care of, and who helps to take care of you? While you're still in high school, this might seem like something you can avoid. But when you graduate, there are absolutely people you'll leave behind, particularly if you come to the United States for college.
It won't be easy, but it will be worth it, I can promise you that! You'll meet so many people who are truly pulling for you to succeed, and the more you take the time to genuinely care for others, the more they will care for you in return. Helen Keller, a blind and deaf humanitarian in the 1900s, put it this way: "Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light." Having someone to walk with you through the challenges and trials of life makes all the difference in the world when it comes to how you overcome those struggles.
At the end of every day, if you take the time to think back over the day, consider how many people you came into contact with, and how many of them helped you in some way or another. I'd be willing to bet that the number is higher than you think! Even if you only left the house to run a few errands, the clerk at the grocery store, the attendant at the diesel station, and the waiter where you stopped for supper were all an important part of your day.
Now, here's the catch: If that many people helped you, whether you realized it or not, how many people did you impact today? If you were grumpy, how many people did that bring down? If you were encouraging and kept an upbeat attitude, how many people did you lift up with you or bring a smile to?
And he climbs on up the hill on the rock on which he stands
He looks back at the crowd
He looks down at his hands and he says
I am a difference maker
Those are some lines from one of my favorite songs, Difference Maker by a group called NEEDTOBREATHE. Check them out sometime!
In all seriousness, though, who can you make a difference for today? Isn't that the point of going to college when you really step back and think about it? Whatever we do with our lives, the goal is to make life better for yourself and those around you. Each one of us is a difference maker in our own way!
I know that I can get caught up -- too easily -- in the mindset of being too small to make a difference for anyone. Anyone else feel that way??
But think about it for just a minute. If you're having a rough day, and someone takes the time to smile at you, it might not solve your problem, but it makes it easier to handle, doesn't it? Throughout the situation at my college with losing our rodeo coach, we've been able to go rope with an older man who lives a few miles out of town. Some of us felt like we were inconveniencing him, or too much trouble, but someone recently told us that it makes his day when we go out to rope with him. It makes him feel good, that he's doing something for someone (and let me tell you, he certainly is helping all of us!), and helps to keep him feeling younger. He's even traveled to two of our three rodeos to help us this semester, which has helped us to compete better, and all because we took him up on his offer of help in our difficult time. "Jerry" helping us college kids has, in some twisted way, helped us to help him in return! I don't know if that makes sense, but it sure does work.
What small things in your life can you do to help yourself by helping someone else, or taking them up on their offer? Who in your life is a difference maker, and who can you be a difference maker for?
We each get by with a little help from our friends, like The Beatles song says, and sometimes we have more friends than we realize -- the people who push us to be better than our best, the people who stay up crazy-late at night with us, the people who travel thousands of miles with us, the people who we buy our equipment from, and the ones who are just there when you need them, no matter how long it's been since you've talked last. Use your gifts and talents and knowledge to give back, and to do something for somebody. Be a light the world so desperately needs. Don't ever think, even for a second, that you're not brave enough, because if you're thinking about coming to America to go to college, you're way more than brave enough to be a game-changer. Be a difference maker today!!
Here are Rebecca's other posts, in case you missed them:
Best of luck in all your endeavors,
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