Keep Fighting

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It was so hard to leave you, London.

I’ve been struggling with what to write in my next blog post. Should it be about leaving London? Should it be about the traveling I’ve done since coming back to America? Could I write about the grueling internship application process and how it took a toll on me in every which way possible?

At the end of the day, I decided I wanted to focus on the buzzword that has seemed to define the month I have spent in America thus far: fighting.

I fought until the bitter end to convince myself I was staying in London, finally letting the heartbreak wash over me as I glanced at the flight monitor in April to realize we were over Nova Scotia- aka not Europe and most definitely not the United Kingdom. I fought to hold myself together as the internship rejections came rolling in one after the other in the midst of my post-London depression. And I fought to plaster a smile on my face when reunited with eager family and friends who always, always asked: “How does it feel to be back home? What are you doing this summer?”

Here is the truth about life: sometimes, it sucks. Sometimes things do not work out the way you want them to no matter how hard you try. You get rejected by that college, the guy breaks your heart, you don’t get the super-fancy-shmancy internship you convinced yourself was the internship of your dreams.

Humans have an innate response to these kinds of situations: you either fight, or flight.

It’s the hard days — the days that challenge you to your very core — that determine who you are. You will be defined not just by what you achieve, but how you survived

When I got rejected from yet another internship my first week back from London, I broke down. I couldn’t convince myself that I was good enough for anything. I began comparing myself to others, watching as all of my friends and colleagues seemed to get these amazing internships while I just kept striking out.

My mother’s response to all of this misery was astounding. She said, “Paxton, you know what makes you different from all of these people? You are a fighter. You do not let these moments defeat you, you let them strengthen you. You are going to get back up from this and fight for what you want because that’s what you do, you keep fighting.”

Flight or fight? I chose fight.

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Reuniting with my littles at the University of Delaware.

I got home from a much-needed vacation with my family. I focused on everything good about being home. I emailed every single person I could think of who might be able to stand in my corner and help me fight for that internship. I reunited with my friends from the University of Delaware who reminded me how much I meant to them. I watched Sheryl Sandberg’s Berkley commencement speech to learn more about the power of resilience. I kept fighting.

And I got that internship in the city with an extraordinary agency that I cannot wait to work with.

To the high school senior who didn’t get into their dream school, to the traveler who had to leave Europe, to the girl who’s picking up the pieces from a breakup, to the collegiate who got the “thanks, but no thanks” email over and over again: at any moment you have the power to decide whether or not to let these moments define you, or strengthen you. You have the choice to decide whether or not you are going to fight or flight. I promise you that if you keep fighting for what you believe in and fight for a better life, things will turn out better than you could have possibly imagined.

So what’s it going to be: fight or flight?

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