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The Right Kind of Stress

5 Mar

fwrgrfrFor the last three and a half years, I have been asking myself if it is wise to be so involved in college.

So involved that it takes a toll on your health, schoolwork, and relationships. I find myself at the breaking point some weeks, but I still wake up at 8:00am, shuttle myself to school, and work until the job is done. Day after day, week after week.

Many of my friends have time to go home during the afternoon and do nothing for a few hours. The less time I have, the more appealing the idea of leisurely TV watching becomes.

Why can’t I just drop everything I’m involved in when I’m overwhelmed?

Why is it so hard for me to say, “No, I can’t take on that task?”

Why can’t I just ignore the world’s needs and do what I want to do – which is go watch TV on a Wednesday afternoon in my pajamas and eat some cheese and wheat thins.


Because I find deep satisfaction in what I do. There’s a sense of happiness in working for others, a sense of joy that comes from putting in hard work. I have resolved that no matter what, I’m still going to get up at 8:00am, shuttle my butt up to school, and get work done.

Bottom line, people make me happy.

I’m lucky to be stressed out. I’m lucky that I have people who trust me enough to do hard work and take on stressful tasks. I’m fortunate that I’m able to take on these tasks and maintain a good GPA with the love of great friends and amazing family who are supportive of my endeavors and so helpful during my cry-fests.

I feel like I just did a 360 turn. I’m stressed. I’m happy. I’m happy, because I’m stressed. Just call me a girl, I guess. Full of emotions!

Seriously though, I am fortunate to be involved. The happiness I have earned from being involved has made me a strong, independent woman who pushes herself to take on endeavors, be bold and try new things.


_C9A5957Vanessa Cortez is a Senior from Harlingen, Texas. She is obtaining Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations and Political Science. Vanessa has served in leadership roles in various organizations on campus including College Republicans, Student Organizations Council, and Student Foundation. As the current Student Body President for Texas State University, she is very passionate about serving the students and university. She hopes to bring a positive impact to campus during her administration and encourages students to utilize ASG as a resource to improve Texas State University.


What Makes You Come Alive

6 Nov

My family just had one of those weekends – a period of time when things aren’t going right and, as you wallow in the problem, it perpetuates itself and gets worse.

My youngest daughter, Reese (10), plays on a very competitive soccer team that was expected to do very well this season. Things have not gone as planned; they lost two additional games this weekend and it seemed like the world was coming to an end.

My other daughter, Maddy (15), has been dealing with a nagging hamstring/hip flexor/knee thing for about a year and injured herself again on Saturday. Nothing career ending, but something that will require hard work, missed games and training to get over.

My girls were unhappy and hurting and I had no answers for either of them. While sitting in the doctor’s office with Maddy, for what seems like the hundredth time, I couldn’t focus on a solution, all I could see was trouble ahead.

Maddy said to me, “I think it is time I give up.” In that very moment, looking for the easy way out, I almost agreed with her. However, I heard a voice in my head say, “but does this make her come alive?” So instead of agreeing, I did not speak. She was waiting for my reply as tears rolled down her face. I wasn’t going to be the one to say, “I think it is time as well”, or “you have worked too hard, I will not let you quit.”

This couldn’t be my decision.

So I asked her, “Why do you play soccer?” She replied, “It is everything to me, it is who I am, and it is my passion and there is nothing I enjoy more.” I said, “Isn’t that worth fighting for? You can’t give up on what makes you come alive!”

She listened intently as the doctor laid out the plan for physical therapy. I could see she was ready to face the challenge once again. I soon found perspective and the troubles of the weekend faded away. My focus was once again where it should be and I am thankful that six words I passionately believe in came to me at right moment, “Does it make her come alive?” Without them, I fear we would be experiencing a much different outcome.

The idea comes from a quote by Howard Thurman, “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

The philosophy of discovering what makes us come alive is one of the many key leadership concepts taught in the Housley Principled Leadership Program – and it’s a lesson I learn again and again.

So we begin again. Reese’s team has since calmed down and regrouped. We are focused on future games and challenges and not what has passed and can’t be changed. Maddy has spoken to all her coaches and teammates and received overwhelming support to do what she needs to do. She works hard daily to get back to the game she loves.

I am thankful for these experiences. They are not about soccer, but about preparing my children for life and challenges much harder than these. Enforcing that things worth having don’t come easy and when faced with adversity you don’t give up, especially on things that make you come alive!


Melinda is a 24/7 Mom. From 8am to 5pm, Monday through Friday (and some weekends), she cares for the Stelos Alliance and all its scholarships and programs. Additionally, she makes sure the Kalypso family gets together to catch-up and have fun a few times throughout the year. With what is left, she does the same for her own family which includes a husband, two very active daughters Madison (15) and Reese (10) and Marcie (dog).

This is Water – Freeing Myself from Expectations

30 Oct

There are two young fish swimming along and they come across an older fish who says, “Morning boys. How’s the water?” They continue swimming until eventually one of the younger fish turns to the other and says, “What is water?”

As David Foster Wallace points out in his commencement speech in the video above, this fish metaphor is simply a way of saying that the most important realities are often right in front of us. They are just really, “…hard to see and talk about.”

Wallace goes on to say there are many aspects of adulthood college students don’t expect when entering the real world—the mundane, everyday tasks, for one. Tasks that can sometimes be very tedious and annoying for all of us—but they don’t have to be.

We operate on the assumption that everything revolves around us and our needs, when that isn’t really the case. Wallace points out that if we shift this default way of thinking away from ourselves and include the possibility that there may be more important things going on in the world, we could stand to be a lot happier for it.

I share this video because, as I narrow my final year in college, I’ve failed to realize that my life won’t always be what I want it to be. It won’t be as exciting as I expect every day, but I can’t let that affect my perception of happiness – I think we could all stand to remember that.

We’re not promised the most exciting adventure every day of our lives, but we get to make our own weather. I have the ability to decide about how I feel about the situations life presents me with. In the Housley Principled Leadership Program, we often reference Covey’s 90/10 principle. Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react.

Sometimes we get so caught up in our own lives that we don’t stop to consider the fact that we are the ones who affect how we feel. We get to, “consciously decide what has meaning and what doesn’t”, and that is the true value of an education.

It is what real freedom is.



Kameron Fehrmann is a senior Communication Design major at Texas State University. Since her start at Texas State, Kameron has been involved in several student organizations on campus. These organizations, along with the Housley Principled Leadership Program, have allowed her to develop her personal design aesthetic and become a passionate leader who loves working with great people to make beautiful, effective designs. Kameron has been part of the Stelos family for almost a year, and is currently a Stelos Fellow.


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