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Lists are my forte. To-do lists, shopping lists, top ten lists, BuzzFeed lists; just name a list and I have a detailed version doodled on my planner. My list-making habit originated at an early age, around the same time I started to engage in enough extracurriculars to make my head spin. I yearned for organization and, above all, I needed a plan.
My long-term high school plan, my prized list, was neatly etched on a scratch piece of paper during my freshman year. It was a masterpiece: simple, elegant, and concise, consisting of only three points.
Yet, three years later, none of that transpired. Did I fail? No. Instead of running for the high school and regional positions, I altered my trajectory by running for the position of International Vice President of Membership and Education for BBYO, subsequently throwing me full throttle into the colorful and opportunity-filled world of adulthood. I had to forgo the plans of my beloved list, because I knew that I had more pressing commitments: my personal growth and the growth of the international Jewish community.
As the current International Vice President of Membership and Education, I work for hours each day communicating with the international staff team, counseling regional and chapter leadership, and pushing international initiatives to the 43,000 teens on the ground level. My commitment to BBYO and the thousands of teens that benefit from it often comes before sleeping, eating, and (occasionally) my own sanity. But the work I do is not for myself. I aim to improve other leaders by teaching them to put younger, prospective members before themselves, while improving myself by serving as a teacher and a role model. This desire to put others before myself took precedence over Regional N’siah, Drill Captain, and my singing career, because half-heartedly participating in these activities would not have offered the same excitement or learning opportunities that are improving me as an adult.
It was the moment I decided to run for International Board that I realized the true beauty of adulthood: the ability to adapt. Why stay within the light blue lines of a piece of paper when far more exciting opportunities lie outside the margins? Why choose the traditional or easy route through high school? Although my list-making obsession never ceased, I can never be satisfied with simply following the path drawn out for me.
Since this realization came about, the phrase “the world is your oyster” has never seemed more relevant to me. Instead of worrying about high school drama or old to-do lists, my perspective has broadened and big-picture ideas such as international events, human relations, the Jewish community and popular culture have grown in importance.
Nowadays, my lists are as dynamic as the ever-changing world around me. My current plan for the future is greater than anything that I can write in a list on a scratch piece of paper – it is large scale, complicated, international, and adult. I feel like a little fish in a big pond, but the abundance of opportunity feels so good.
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