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That’s Growth- How a Red Polo Changed my Life



I felt it in my stomach. That excited, nervous mixture of feelings bubbling to the surface. I had just entered the Temple Performing Arts Center for my new student orientation. I sat in a crowd of strangers clutching a ‘swag bag’ I was given at check-in, as I listened to the opening presentation. I was suddenly jolted by the sound of rumbling cheers as orientation leaders ran out onto the stage. 


I incredulously watched as they performed a fly-in, fly-out welcome chant, yelling rhymes into the microphone with no reservation. The girl seated next to me leaned over and scoffed, “I’d never do that.” I nodded in agreement, but my eyes never left the stage. I wondered how they made it seem so effortless- stepping in time with each other and fearlessly commanding attention. They had qualities I greatly admired, but thought I could never possess myself. 



My first year at Temple was filled with moments like these- aspirations to be involved, followed the immediate thought that I “was not that kind of person.” I had never been surrounded by so many incredible opportunities at once, yet I had a million excuses for why I was not the best fit. When orientation leader applications were released, I stared at the essay questions for days. I never submitted an application.


Sophomore year, I pressed the “submit” button. I poured my heart into the application questions, and kept my fingers crossed as I made it through group interviews, and then the final individual interview. When I opened my letter of acceptance for the Owl Team, I felt the familiar sensation of my stomach turning. I flipped the letter over, and noticed a note from one of the orientation coordinators, simply stating, “Remember, you were picked for a reason.” 


I kept myself from achieving my full potential for so long, because I was stuck in a fixed mindset. I genuinely believed that because I was not a natural, I would never be able to overcome some hurdles.



Sometimes it’s not about being “the right type of person.” It’s not all about what you look like, or if you’re exuding all the self-confidence in the world. The best way to be successful is to give yourself the chance. Take a risk, get out of your comfort zone, and let yourself grow. The opportunity and honor of wearing a red polo shirt and khakis has given me the chance to explore the type of leader, friend, and worker I want to be. 


This blog post was written by Haley Williams, Director of Fundraising.

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