Connecting with students during service week

By: Katie Peltier, a junior at the University of Texas

I will focus on my strengths but remember my weaknesses. LEAD Cape Town is all about how you can become a better leader; so many times we are told to focus on your weaknesses so you can become better in that area but, we tend to forget about our strengths almost completely. Through this trip I realized that I have so much more to offer if I use my strengths and really exercise them and remember to try to improve my weaknesses when the chance is given but not to concentrate just on improving them.

I will look to where I am going but reflect on where I have been. Each day we are told to reflect on our activities and what we take from them so I’ve decided to do this with my life. Where you are heading in life is not depended on where you have already been but it can influence your decisions. For every action there is an equal an opposite reaction; so many times we tend forget our pasts and the events that have really shaped who you are but our past cause us to act of behave a certain way but when we take a step back and remember where we have been and how it really effects us then we can really see where we want to go.

I will embrace the positive and shut out the negative. Attitude is very contagious and when you have negativity surrounding you; you start to think negatively, this for me is one of the worst things I can do for myself because it’s like feeding a black whole that will get bigger each time I think negatively.

I will start with me so that then I can start with others. I think it is very important to start with yourself before you can really connect with others. Through this experience in Cape Town I have learned a lot more about myself in four weeks than I have in four years, I learned I have a lot of accepting to do about myself and to let go of a lot of harmful emotions I have. I came here wanting to find something in myself that I didn’t know was there but I wasn’t expecting to find what I did. I found courage to share so that others feel comfortable, I found anger I didn’t even know was there but then I found forgiveness when I let it out. I think the most important thing I found while I was here is happiness, I let my guard down and allowed others to see me for the first time in a very long time and trusted that at least one person would accept me. There wasn’t just one event that allowed for this clarity, I feel that it was everything put together and working together, from pushing my emotional then physical boundaries to being taught what it means to be mindful. Learning about the culture in South Africa and its history to even how animals coexist all led to peace of mind I have now. I want to go back and really use my vision statement so that I can achieve my goals and remind myself every day is a new one and that life needs balance.

Rugby Game Faces