Andrea Francisco Shares Her Lessons Learned As My Good Things Intern
I am so very proud of Andrea Francisco, a recent Indian Hill High School graduate who has been interning with me this school year; and I am grateful for the opportunity to get to know her and all of her abilities. She is no doubt going to be going on to great things. Before then she took a few minutes to share how the experience has helped her grow.
written by Andrea Francisco
Over the past year, I have learned some important lessons on life that I want to share with you all. From my experience writing at Good Things Going Around to having a blast finishing my fourteenth year at the Indian Hill, I have had a wonderful year, perhaps my best yet, with many lessons learned along the way.
Being Grateful and the Importance of Giving Back
In the past, I always took all of my blessings for granted, and never fully appreciated the scope of how lucky I am. I live in a free country, go to an excellent school, and have little hardships compared to others. However, this does not mean that I should sit back and relax: because I have been given so much, I believe that I should give back even more. This sounded overwhelming to me at first, but I am now convinced that this is the meaning of life: to lift up and help others. Also, I am inspired by this quote from the French writer and poet Antoine de Saint-Exupery: “When you give yourself, you receive more than you give.” In other words, when you give back to others even a little bit, the joy you have inspired in them will be reflected back to you, and you will have more joy than what you started out with.
Being Joyful and Sharing With Others
The power of sharing stories and experiences with others is that it is incredibly moving; just think about the countless lives that are touched everyday by the stories in Good Things Going Around alone. Without sharing, we would be unable to connect with each other, particularly strangers whom we might be tempted to judge, in meaningful ways. Sharing improves trust and understanding between different and sometimes conflicting groups or individuals. Furthermore, I have learned that it is important to be joyful in sharing, as that joy can touch the lives of others in ways I can’t imagine. I have found that the saying “Be the change you want to see in the world” is really true, because when I am more joyful the people around me tend to be the same. For instance, I notice that when I smile around others they tend to smile back also. It’s incredibly empowering to think that if I choose so, I can influence the people around me to be joyful if I show joyfulness myself.
Balancing Life and Prioritizing
The art of balancing life is an important lesson that I have learned this year, as it is the first year in my young adult life I have felt truly balanced. Some years I would be lazier and procrastinate, while other years I would spend too much time studying and working. However, this year I have found a happy medium between the work-life balance, and part of this is because I learned to spend more time working on the things that make me more happy and fulfilled. Yes, school and work are important, and you should work hard, but always remember to find time to do the things that make you happy. In my case this includes helping others, exercising, writing, making art, cooking, and spending time with friends.
People are Truly Amazing
I am actually shocked at how amazing people are! I never knew the world had so many talented, happy, and strong people, especially in the greater Cincinnati area, previous to starting my internship at Good Things Going Around. The ReelAbilities Film festival was definitely the pinnacle of the newfound amazement I have for people with disabilities. Watching the different film trailers made me laugh and cry, and allowed me to connect with people that have disabilities in ways I never imagined. I saw the film called “Stand Clear of the Closing Doors”, a drama film about a boy with autism, Ricky, who lives in Queens and hides in the subway with Hurricane Sandy approaching, all while his family desperately searches for him. In addition, the photography work done by Rick Guidotti in his program Positive Exposure, which exposed the true beauty of those with genetic, physical, and behavioral differences, such as albinism or autism, was a real eye-opener. I don’t know a lot of people with these kinds of differences personally, so being able to see how beautiful they are in reality rather than how society tells us to think of them is really enlightening. It’s made me really realize that just because someone looks or acts different from most people does not make them inadequate or inferior, as society might lead us to think. I once heard a quote about autism from Paul Collins saying, “Autists are the ultimate square pegs, and the problem with pounding a square peg into a round hole is not that the hammering is hard work. It’s that you’re destroying the peg.” I think this can also apply to anyone that is different in some way. It teaches society that we need to stop trying to mold everyone into perfect round pegs, and instead let people be as they are, imperfect, but still striving to do their best, which is all that matters.