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Andrew | Age: 20 | Long Valley, NJ

Andrew | Age: 20 | Long Valley, NJ

Leadership is... the ability to manage others in a cooperative and positive atmosphere where teamwork is a staple of the ongoing environment. It is the role where an individual is prepared to take full responsibility for their actions while also being able to listen and communicate clearly to others. Most importantly, leadership is the ability to give constructive criticism that will benefit a majority of people because a leader cares more about others than they do themselves.

Leadership in Life... When I was younger, I was always a fan of watching sports on TV like American Ninja Warrior, and often enjoyed working with the stock market. By the time I got to high school I had a penchant for math and realized that business is probably where I would end up. My first year of high school, however, was when my grandmother received word that she had stage 3 breast cancer. Going through chemotherapy, she didn’t complain once about the process and showed me that I should never make excuses in life. One year later she was cured of the grueling process. I then started to do Spartan Races (distance races with obstacles in between) to clear my head and to push myself to the limit. During my senior year in high school I ended up doing the hardest Spartan race, the Spartan Ultra Beast. This consisted of 34 miles and thousands of feet of vertical gain. Pushing past all the pain and thinking of my grandmother, it took me over 13 hours, but I became the youngest to ever complete it at 17 years old, proving that anything is possible. After entering college, I came to the decision to pursue finance in order to one day become an investment banker on Wall Street. By the time January rolled around my Freshman year at High Point, my grandmother was diagnosed with stage 4 lymph node cancer. Once again, she underwent chemotherapy for a little over a year and got through it without a single complaint. After seeing that, I was nothing but motivated. I tried to bring upon myself as much opportunities I could. I ended up being a founding partner and having a leading role in an investment group at my school as well as starting Campus Connect (an app that students at college campuses around the United States will be able to use). I learned that to make progress one has to take initiative in life. I then decided to be inspired by others and their stories so I decided to pursue one of my dreams, American Ninja Warrior. I trained for a year and though I’m too young to compete at 19, I became a course tester for the show, helping test out any new prototype obstacles and deeming if they should be made easier, harder, or simply removed. Overall, I learned that a leader must be willing to take opportunities because they are always right there in front of you. If you are willing to take advice, be motivational, and inspire others, then anything is possible. I’ve set new goals for myself and will never stop following my dreams until they become reality. My next expedition will be to backpack the Appalachian trail and hike Everest to further learn more about me and the endless potential that we as a society all have. I’ve come to realize through my journey that anyone can do absolutely anything they put their mind to, they just have to be ready to step up and become a leader for themselves and their community even if that means deriving motivation and leadership from others.

Advice… Find the light in the darkness, no matter how small, grab onto it, and take advantage of it. Never give up, never quit, and always trust your heart while following your dreams and staying positive. Take opportunity of everything that comes your way because it is VERY possible for your dreams to become your reality.

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