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Expect the Unexpected


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A thin, white envelope was all it took to totally alter my outlook on my future expectations. Before I had even opened it, I already knew that it was not the result that I wanted. I had received a rejection letter from my dream school; the one school that I had dreamed of attending after four years of working tirelessly for a single acceptance packet with the word, “Congratulations!”

Rejections are never easy. When you have a goal in mind for so long and suddenly a giant obstacle blocks your path to that goal, you question all the expectations you’ve ever had. You might ask yourself, was this fated to happen? If so, why did I work so hard in the first place? But when life doesn’t turn out the way you expect it to, we tend to lose sight of the opportunities and accomplishments that we already have to be proud of. It’s inevitable, especially when we grow up in a society and at a time when the competition and stress in education and the working force are so extreme. So as cliché as this sounds, the most important piece of advice that I can give is to never forget about your achievements or the impact you’ve had on the people around you, even if those things didn’t directly lead you to an expected endpoint.

In my four years of high school, I was able to make a huge impact not only on the school but on the entire world simply through my passion for sharing stories. I joined the broadcast journalism program as a freshman and immediately, the field of journalism became my niche. From covering a story on the school’s famed football announcer to producing a documentary on the homeless population of Los Angeles, I’ve been able to set foot in every topic in the spectrum. The medium of video allowed me to give a voice to the voiceless, and that was more rewarding than any other assignment I had ever done at school.

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Controlling the switcher board as Technical Director (left) for the live newscasts for the Mustang Morning News.

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Attending the NSPA/JEA journalism conference in Washington, D.C. with the staff.

The summer before my senior year, I wanted to create a project outside of school that I would have to plan and complete from start to finish all on my own. Using the connections that I had from a previous project from back in middle school, I flew to Japan to produce my own series of short documentaries and articles. The town I visited in particular was in a major area that had been destroyed in the 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster. With an iPhone in hand, I shot the aftermath and recovery of the town as well as interviewed the victims of the disaster to listen to each and every one of their stories. Though there were many ups and downs along the way, the final product of my efforts was one I could look back on for the rest of my life as something I could be genuinely proud of. My short documentary aired at a small news station in Japan and an article I wrote on a whim won a journalism award. But being recognized was not even close to the satisfying feeling of having people tell me that my work had opened their eyes to something. If my projects are able to impact even just one person in any way, that’s all that matters to me.

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A moment of when my documentary aired on a news channel in Japan.

 

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Visiting a temporary housing ‘village’ in Yamada town, Japan last summer for my project.

All of us have something to be proud of, whether it be a project, a medal, or a simple kind deed. Despite the lowest lows we encounter throughout our lives, we can’t let those downers change the way we perceive ourselves and our previous accomplishments. Failures and rejections certainly don’t define us. There is so much more to life than getting into a single college, as I found out, because our accomplishments should be measured by its degree of impact, not by a grade or title. During difficult times when you’re contemplating what to do, those that truly believe in you will stick by and support your decision no matter what. Their perception of you will certainly never change regardless of your path, and your perception of yourself also shouldn’t change based on one decision.

So dare to forget about expectations, all of them, because nothing in life can be expected,

except the unexpected.

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Expect the Unexpected