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Seize the Opportunities—It Is Our Time

By Brianna Ferguson ’20

In life, particularly at Milton Hershey School, we are given opportunities. We must be willing to seize these opportunities, despite the risks.

As a junior in high school, I was given the opportunity to study abroad in Argentina through the school’s Multicultural and Global Education program. Reflecting back on my experience, there were many elements I was prepared for and many I was not. One challenge I was not prepared for was facing how alone I would feel at times. I was far away from the English language, culture, family, and a group of friends I had been prior accustomed to. Many times, I felt like no one understood me or the experiences I was going through. I then realized that I could not expect others to understand me when I could barely understand myself.

Milton Hershey School student, Brianna, visits Talampaya in Argentina during a trip through the opportunities in the school's Multicultural and Global Education program.

Photo courtesy of Brianna Ferguson ’20

From there, I began exploring my own identity. I was transparent with myself and did not ignore the thoughts running through my head. This helped me to acknowledge the parts of my life I was excelling in, and face the reality of the areas I needed improvement on. As I started to understand and accept myself on deeper levels, I gained a greater sense of self-confidence. I was beginning to figure out how to become the best version of myself.

One clear, summer night while I was in Argentina, I visited a friend’s house, where we decided to lay outside and look at the stars. There was a meteor shower that night, and we sat and watched the sky fill with shooting stars. At that moment, I was alone with and aware of my thoughts. I remember thinking, “Who do I want to be? What will I be known for? What will I do with my life?” From that point on, I knew I could start to see the bigger picture.

During that year, I was able to grow as a person. I believe the biggest contribution to that growth was due to the time I took to understand and better myself.

In today’s society, personal development is one of the most valuable tools we can use towards our success. With everything going on in the world, we tend to find ourselves stuck in the now rather than focusing on the future. Staying stagnant is not what makes us successful. We all have the ability to control our own growth. We must develop the characteristics that we see in the people we aim to be. This involves taking time to ourselves and discovering the aspects of life that truly matter to us. By setting clear goals, we are able to alter our mindsets and work towards achieving every measure of success.

There is no better time than now to begin self-reflecting and envisioning the futures we desire using the opportunities we were given. Pinpoint the elements in life that you consider most important; not what social media, society, or those around you say to be the most important. It is time to focus on what it is we want to do when the world starts shifting back to a new normal. We must take what we learned during our time at MHS and channel that into our futures.

Milton Hershey School student, Brianna, poses for a photo during her trip to Argentina through the school's Multicultural and Global Education program.

Photo courtesy of Brianna Ferguson ’20

Milton Hershey School does not discriminate in admissions or other programs and services on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin, ancestry, sex, religious creed or disability. Read important MHS policies on equal opportunity and diversity, equal employment opportunity, and more.