My future still remains unwritten. However, as I take a step back and reflect upon the life that I have written so far for myself, I have realized that, like writing, discovering my truest self is a continuous process of editing and revising as each story unfolds with its own unique cast of characters and plot lines. This collection of stories that I have compiled over the course of my Carolina journey contains a plot for each that usually involves some challenge. These challenges provide an opportunity for me to confront deeply-held perceptions about myself as well as empower myself to take ownership over my thoughts and feelings to overcome adversity. Moreover, it was in my stories of challenge that provided moments for immense personal growth. These moments of personal growth served as a catalyst for an opportunity to reinvent myself towards evolving to a better, more true version of myself.  More than anything, I have learned that my relentless drive to seek the fullest expression of who I am as a human being can only occur through challenging myself towards achieving nothing less than my full potential.

For example, I love the challenge behind articulating the right words to express myself which serves as a way to find my voice-the essence of the many selves that make up my identity as a way of grounding me against the crushing and sometimes overwhelming waves of everyday life; this trail of words becomes a map for how I discovered my truest self. On a more personal level, writing empowers me to accept no one’s definition of my life and to define myself until my words ring true. Furthermore, I am constantly seeking the fullest expression of myself as a human being capable of sharing myself as a whole and authentic being with the world. While much of my future remains unwritten, word by word, I slowly become a little bit closer towards discovering and shaping the person that I desire to become. As I continue to embark on the many adventures that Carolina has to offer, I believe that these words I write will illuminate the path and guide me towards dreams and goals that I have yet to explore. As I continue to change and reshape the words of my story-past, present, and future, I hang on to my blossoming sense of self as a beacon of light leading me toward my truest self.

More than anything, I have discovered that every moment in life is an occasion to rise to the challenge. Rising to the occasion of your own life story requires you to raise the standards of what you expect from yourself. Upon critical reflection of the times that I truly effected change in my life, it was the moments that I strove for standards higher than I expected for myself in times of adversity and challenge. By believing in something greater than yourself-raising your goals and expectations, you empower yourself to become a better and truer you. Our lives are an occasion, let’s make them extraordinary. After all, the rest is still unwritten.

-Michael Lau

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