2022 Power of Resilience Winner Holly Hill
We’re excited to announce the winner of the 2022 Power of Resilience Scholarship is Holly Hill. Congratulations Holly! Learn more about Holly below:
I am the second person in my immediate family to graduate college, the first being my mom. She has a Master’s degree and works in the medical field as a speech-language pathologist. Her educational journey and advice have been immensely helpful during my own college career. Some impactful advice she gave me was to stay present, both in education and in life. Often it’s so easy to wish time to fly past, or wish you could go back and change something, and in the process, you lose focus on the present. I have loved my college career and feel like I have been able to connect so much more with the classes, curriculum, and professors than I would simply trying to rush through each quarter. Not only has my college experience been educational, but it has offered such an important, unique peer experience that I am grateful to have participated in. This has also aided my success because I have been able to get the most out of every class and that has in turn positively impacted my GPA. I have made the presidents list every quarter at PSU, and made the dean’s list the quarter I was sick, which was an achievement due to that and because I was taking an extra class, so my credit hours were higher than full-time.
I grew up in Washington state; my family moved to Camas when I was 3 years old and we have been here ever since. I’m finishing up my Bachelors of Science with a focus on Social Sciences, and I am currently working an internship for the City of Camas, Washington in the Parks and Recreation department. I want to pursue a job in government after graduation. Actually, one of the reasons I initially sought out an internship in local government here was because I have been able to see all of the growth and development the town has gone through and I want to continue to see my hometown thrive as it evolves. After graduation, I would love to continue to work in the government, as it has really exceeded my expectations thus far and I really have enjoyed learning the ins and outs of what makes a growing community thrive. I would love to work in the federal government one day, perhaps in a public relations position. My best friend’s dad works for USFWS and I find his work so fascinating, which is partially what motivated me to seek out a position in government. If I skew away from that, I also have great interest in marketing, so maybe one day I will be able to combine the two for my dream job! Wherever life takes me, I am confident I will be able to find a career path that is both emotionally and intellectually stimulating and people-focused.
What drives me is personal connection and communication. I have such a passion for humanities – ever since I was young, I have always known I wanted to work in a people-facing environment. Any career path where I can help or connect genuinely with people is something I will flourish in because it brings me so much joy. I am also passionate about communication and connection because there are so many facets in life where these qualities are absent or extremely underutilized. People can get so caught up in life that they forget to slow down and reconnect with others. Communication and connection are traits I want to bring with me wherever I may end up.
The Conclusion of Holly’s Winning Essay
Throughout this experience, I learned a lot about myself. I learned how plucky and resilient I truly am. I learned how much support I have. I learned that people are so much kinder than I thought they would ever be – One of my professors consistently reached out to myself and my family through my journey, offering their support and noting that we need not respond. I also learned that I have taken so much for granted. In the past, I would hear about people with organ failure or fatal diseases and it seemed so foreign. It was always something that passively happened in my life, something that I grazed by with my weak condolences and half-hearted words of comfort. I learned that we all feel we are infallible, that nothing bad will happen to us, because we are “different” from the others these things happen to. I learned that this bubble of ignorance is a privilege to exist in.
I want others to know that things can happen in the blink of an eye. A mole can be skin cancer; swollen cheeks can be sarcoidosis; a stomachache can be renal failure. Nothing is guaranteed in life. However, this does not mean you have to be brave. You do not have to be the one in the news; the fatally ill individual who ran a marathon, or saved a passerby, or did something extraordinary. It is okay to be scared and to be selfish in these times. Bravery is an onus that others can carry for you. If I did not have the support system from my family, friends, insurance, and school, I would not be writing this essay.
I also want others to learn that while not necessary, they truly are capable of more than they can imagine in times of adversity. In no way did I anticipate experiencing my critical health issue the week before midterms and then subsequently finishing the quarter on the dean’s list. I thought I would have to drop out less than a year before finishing my degree. However, I was able to get future classes online and complete my current classes virtually, which helped point me in the direction of success.
Times are going to be hard, and it is okay to lean into the feelings that come with those hard times. Shutting out the fear, and pain, and sadness will only make it bubble up tenfold in the future. Vulnerability is an admirable trait to hold. However, don’t conflate vulnerability with self-pity. Don’t lose yourself in the hard times and bad memories of the past. Don’t anticipate scary things in the future. Try to balance allowing yourself to emote with a persistence to live. Life could be better, and things could get worse, but take the journey day by day. Growth comes from moving forward.