After spending two weeks in Nigeria and rekindling old relationships, I can say that I’m truly glad I went ‘”home” with my mom. From seeing my ancient grandmother to learning how to cook a simple snack to watching old TV shows of my youth like Kid Nation (seriously, these kids put the adult contestants in survivor to shame) I have a lot of fond memories from this trip.

While it was good to come home, I was saddened by the disappearance of Cinnabon from the ATL airport as that has been a long standing gluttonous tradition of mine to get two buns every time I’m in airport (&& yes, I usually share them – usually).

But there was no greater way to end the trip than with the bonding I had with this older gentleman. He was a proud grandpa from Wisconsin on his way to watch his granddaughter graduate from middle school. After some exchanges we realized she was headed to my high school alma mater Green Hope. After assuring him that’d she’d have fun, we parted ways as I took a phone call and we headed to the plane.

As I sat in my seat gabbing away to my future Europe partner, I never realized that my older friend was seated across the aisle from me. It wasn’t until the plane landed and we were grabbing our bags that he turned to me and said, “I’ve got it, I know just what you’re going to do when you get older.” Intrigued I gave him a laugh and asked him to continue. He then said, ” Well not to evesdrop, but after listening to you on the phone I figure you’re either going to own your own business or become a high school teacher.”

While he knew I already have a job lined up, he continued to go on and say that I seem very passionate and enthusiastic about life and I’d either take that energy and create a company or use that same energy to inspire another generation. If you know me, I was quite flabbergasted by option two because well, I dunno who would ever want to entrust their child’s education to me! But his comment ans his words really made me think and reflect on my life so far.

During my four years at Carolina, I realized there was this underlying slogan of “find your passion”. Overtime this truly frustrated me as I never figured mine out (not even by the time I graduated). This resentment to the word ‘passion’ only grew stronger as more and more people I knew found theirs, executed it with such accomplished fervor, and exuded an aura of purpose and contentment in life while I felt like the last picked kid on the school black hoping passion would pick me to be on the team one day soon.

It wasn’t until I got home that I realized passion does not have to be something tangible you do to make yourself or society better. Passion is rather the energy you give off in your actions and daily life that attract people to you in hopes of helping you realize your goal or to help them realize theirs (wordy I know). Some passion can lead to positive historical change, other passion can lead to the destruction of a nation and utter chaos.

At Carolina, we always hope to leave our heel print behind as we transition from undergrad to alum. I hope to leave an imprint not only on my university, but on every individual that I encounter. And there folks lies my passion. I’m realizing that my passion lies in enjoying life and helping others do the same. Whether it’s providing constructive criticism, trying to put a smile on someone’s face, challenging a POV or even just consulting a good book to read (anything by James Patterson) or a good show (SCANDAL, New Girl or potentially Game of Thrones – I hear it’s good), I want to own every action I take in this life and make no regrets. Join me won’t you?!

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