Being an extrovert, striking up conversations comes naturally. While most extroverts I encounter move quickly from one conversation to the next, I try to reflect on my encounters with others and find the deeper meaning in each one. These exchanges help me connect with others, but also broaden my perspective on relationships and the world around me. Living in Los Angeles there are many opportunities to explore different cultures and ideas, yet I still notice a lack of genuine care occurring in most interactions. In a way my desire to slow down and connect with others is a strength, one that I use to help those around me feel more accepted and heard.
Knowing that I’ve made a positive impact on someone is enough for me to continue having this mindset; but the influence I have on one person could possibly trickle into their future interactions as well. For instance, as a sophomore I formed a relationship with a freshman on my volleyball team; but it quickly moved from being a surface-level friendship into an opportunity to mentor a younger teammate. The following year I was blown away when she told me that our relationship had inspired her to take on a mentee of her own. Realizing the ripple effect of what I do for other people has driven me to continue interacting in more thoughtful and selfless ways. I strongly believe that creating an accepting community, where people feel supported, is the key to enabling others to believe in themselves and therefore pursue whatever makes them happy.