What do you see?

One of the core values of Villanova, as an Augustinian university founded on the teachings of St. Augustine, is that students and faculty learn from each other. As you imagine yourself as a member of the Villanova community, what is one lesson that you have learned in your life that you will want to share with others?

Henry David Thoreau said, “It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” Two people can look at the same situation but see something entirely different. In the grand span of my 17 years of existence, I have learned that attitude is a choice. Our backgrounds and circumstances may have influenced who we are, but we are still in control of who we will become. Ultimately, there is no purpose behind pessimism. Regardless of what we undergo in our lives, the world will not stop to take pity on us, and no matter how we feel, we are still responsible for our actions. Unfortunate experiences can be either setbacks or motivators depending on how we view them.

One of the best examples I know of the power of attitude is a boy named Jack who I have been working with for the past six years. We work together in the classroom and exercise together at the Jewish Community Center. Jack is a year younger than I am, and he suffers from severe autism. Having spent such an extensive amount of time with Jack, I have seen the way people look at him. I know firsthand what other people say when he screams, hits himself, and shakes uncontrollably. When I see Jack, however, I don’t see his impaired speech or the fact that he will not stop...

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