Giva Student Scholarship Winner Essay: Amberley Snyder - Making Lemonade Along Life's Way

Everyone has challenges in their lives. We will all have obstacles we face. We may not always get to choose those obstacles, but we do get to choose how we are going to handle them. Throughout my life, I have learned there are ways to find the blessings, motivation or inspiration within every situation. I wanted to share some of the lessons I have learned.

Turning Life's Lemons to Lemonade

"Everything happens for a reason." A saying we have all heard from time to time. This is a motto I have leaned on multiple times. At eighteen years old, I would have never imagined my life would be thrown upside down when I was injured in a paralyzing car accident. There have been changes in my life that I didn't expect. I have learned to lean on this saying and look for the purpose I can serve within each new obstacle. The meaning does not always come in the timing we want, but at some point, I hope we can look back and realize the reason behind the trial.

Allow yourself to be happy. We all have times where life isn't going quite the way we planned. Those bumps in the road can cause frustration, sadness and anger. In those times, it can be hard to find something happy. I have learned that in those moments do try your best to find something to make you happy, even if it just for a second. It could be a favorite song, treat, movie or person texting you. When something happens that you enjoy, allow yourself to be happy. Maybe only for a moment, but allow all the parts of life that are making you sad disappear. From your head to your toes be filled with happiness. I have learned this small moment can be what carries you from one day to the next.

Today might not be your day, but tomorrow will be. There was a time when I was on five months of bed rest. This was one of the hardest times I have experienced. Some mornings my mom would walk into my room and I would tell her that it was not going to be my day. She would reply with "that's okay, but tomorrow needs to be." I have learned to apply this to my life. We are allowed to have bad moments, hours or even days as long as they don't last. Pick yourself back up and make the next day your day.

Set goals and make lists. When you have something to look forward to I feel it gives you motivation. Setting goals, big and small provides you with something to strive for. I love writing my goals down. It could be small like what I need to accomplish that day. Checking those tasks off make me feel accomplished and motivate me to do the next one. The lists and goals keep me on track and focused. I feel that at the end of a day when I have checked a lot of goals off I feel self-efficient and proud of what I was able to complete.

All of these techniques can apply to everyone. Some may be better for you than others, but hopefully one is the right fit. We all will have the moments when life is not going the way we planned and we cannot help but feel discouraged. Those are the moments we dig a little deeper and pick ourselves up. You are the only one who decides how happy you will be each day. A lot of things are out of our control; our attitude is not one of them. Decide to have a positive attitude and make the most out of your day!