Mind Your Map

By: Karla Hernandez, IATG Contributor February 2, 2016




Last year, a very good friend of mine gave me a gift. It was a road map folded into a rectangular shape. In the center of the map she had placed a sticker on it that read the following words:

You are exactly where you are supposed to be.

During 2014, she and I worked closely together as RA staff mates at our university. Throughout the year, she had become one of my dearest friends and a source of absolute peace and joy in my life. As she was packing up her room at the end of the year, ready to graduate and move on to the next chapter of her life, she gave me this map. She said I could keep it and hang it up in my room, since I wouldn’t be graduating until this year and would be spending another year being an RA in our building. Little did I know that this phrase would be one of the biggest lessons that I would need to learn for myself in the next few months.

Truthfully, I was a little worried about starting my senior year of college without my role model living two floors below me. My older classmates had always talked about senior year being a whirlwind of change, nostalgia, and trying to decide what to do next. Without her, and everyone else to look up to, how would I manage to make it through?

This year would place a new set of responsibilities on my shoulders, both personally and academically. I would be given new responsibilities at school that didn’t exactly match some of my personal strengths. Personally, I’d be challenged with the progression of my grandmother’s illness and having to be more present at home to support my family during a difficult time. I kept constantly looking outwards at others who seemed to have it all together, people who had definite plans for their future and confidence that seemed natural. Did they, too, have class, work, and three meetings today? Did they deal with emotionally taxing situations on a daily basis? If so, how do they still manage to have perfect hair and be actively present? I was forgetting to look within myself for the strength to live out my challenges at my own pace.  

Every now and then when I’m rushing out of my room to make it to class or a meeting on time, the map catches me and forces me to do just that: look at myself, not in the likeness of others' lives, but in comparison to the trials that I have to face everyday. Those words remind me that I am here, exactly where I’m supposed to be, and that I am able to deal with where life is taking me.

As I sit here on my futon in my room, staring up at the map hanging on my wall, I hope that you’re able to look within yourself and realize that you can handle whatever this week, month, or year throws at you. With the New Year still unfolding, please know that there are so many chances left for things to go right. And whatever direction you go in, always remember to take a moment to understand that this moment is exactly where you need to be.

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Are you content with where you are in life right now? How did you reach that contentment? Make an inspiration board that captures both the lessons you’ve learned from your journey and the new destinations you want to map. 

About Karla

Karla_Hernandez_writer_bio_(1).jpgKarla is a current senior at Adelphi University in Long Island, New York studying English Literature and Psychology. She is passionate about snacks, social justice, coffee, reading, traveling, being a friend, and empowerment. On any given day you can catch her with a cup of coffee in her hand wearing a flannel. Staying up late is her favorite past time besides eating chicken wings (which are also the way to her heart).


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