From the Girl Scout who Refused to Camp to the Girl who Lived in a Tent: Thoughts on Change

I have not always been the adventurous one.

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At the age of six, I was better known as the Girl Scout who refused to camp. Latrines? Couldn’t do it. Mosquitoes? I welled up like a balloon. Not being able to shower and feel clean for three days? No thanks.

In the summer after second grade, I failed at sleep-away camp. After convincing my parents to let me go to a camp 10 hours away for not one week, but two, I called them nightly begging for them to come retrieve me. Only halfway through summer camp, a so far miserable experience that was supposed to be the highlight of my summer, I returned home early, never having been so relieved in my life.

When I was 10, I swam in my first-ever swim meet. I knew I was the slowest, and I hated the competition aspect of racing. I finished painfully last and in tears, only because my parents bribed me by offering me a t-shirt to compete. I never did another day of swim team in my life.

Much to my surprise – and well, let’s just call it a shock to my surrounding family and friends – I became a lifeguard at the age of 15, I attended college out of state (I fled the nest!), and I graduated from the University of South Carolina to work and live in a tent for five months.

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Who is this girl and where did Hayley go?

In life, I find that change is the only constant. The expression, “try everything once”, is fallacious, because rarely do we like something the first time we try it. And the best kind of surprises are the ones in which we surprise ourselves.

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In thinking about your goals, desires, and abilities, don’t reflect on your past experiences to gauge your capabilities. And don’t gauge your limits by only your current capabilities. We are always growing. Think about your determination, commitment, and desire to succeed. Because nothing is more powerful than a person who has made up their mind to do something.

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