Human Spirit 101human spirit

This week, after 14-ish years, I decided to return for the first time to Tulsa, Oklahoma. This is where I attended college. I immediately got butterflies and couldn’t help but reminisce in my mind. It’s like it was yesterday.

All of those
and challenges
and tears
and victories
and obstacles
and triumphs.

I left home before my 18th birthday. I had no idea what to expect and honestly, that doesn’t suite my personality well. Ha! I’m a detailed, need-to-know kinda person. I was so crazy nervous. I skipped out on the welcome BBQ and opted to just sit in my dorm room and stare at the walls instead. I didn’t do well with change. But, no matter what, I knew I had a great work ethic and I knew I was resilient. I’d be okay. Right??

Work Ethic

Early on, it was established that if I was to go to college (and I BETTER) than I would be paying my way. At the time, that probably wasn’t my favorite rule. Ha! As an adult, I NOW value, appreciate and am thankful for it (and will argue til I’m blue in the face FOR it, actually). But back then, I fought my way thru high school simply to earn a college scholarship to the school of my choice because heck, I didn’t want to have to pay for it either. Ha!

I figured my best bet of getting a college scholarship was becoming the valedictorian.

Those long hours of homework,
skipping lunch to study in the library (or perhaps that was really just to avoid the chaos in the lunch room),
honors classes,
AP tests,
Dual Enrollment courses,
calculate the GPA,
calculate the GPA,
calculate the GPA.

I did it.
I honestly wasn’t that smart. There were FAR more naturally gifted students in my graduating class. BUT, they couldn’t match my work ethic. I really did it.


Now I’m in this strange University, alone. I did this. I fought for this. WHAT was I thinking? But the human spirit is strong. I could’ve bowed out. I could’ve transferred. I could’ve quit. And I definitely thought about it. A lot of people quit or didn’t come back after a break. But, I’m not a lot of people.

There was something in my gut that had gotten me there and I knew THAT could move me forward. I set a few new goals. I wanted to now graduate college with honors (worth a shot) and I also wanted to get a job to pay for my room and board (the scholarship didn’t cover that).

19-22 hours of classes a semester.
Got my job and climbed from hostess to server to front of the house manager.
For the first two years, I didn’t have a car, so I walked to work.
……thru the knee deep snow some days (sounds like something your grandparents would’ve said, right?)
It truly was a crazy time.
I loved the thrill of the challenge..but I also called my mom crying regularly.

This was HARD.
When I got off work, I would go to the University’s gym. I knew I had to be physically fit to keep up this regiment. Some days, I would fall asleep in chapel. Not because I wanted to. Simply because I was exhausted.
This was HARD.
But the human spirit is strong.

I did get the job I wanted to pay my room and board. I did graduate debt free. And I did graduate Summa Cum Laude (although I have to look it up to make sure I have the name right every single time. Ha!). I’m not saying this to brag AT ALL. I’m saying it because I want you to know I was a regular girl that simply pushed herself, that had a feeling in her gut that I was capable of more than just existing or going thru the motions, that I WAS strong, but I could ONLY find that out thru challenge and struggle and being faced with every kind of obstacle.

Without a test of strength, our human spirit can’t thrive.

And Youhuman spirit

Too often in our society, we throw in the towel so crazy early.
If the forecast isn’t favorable, we’re out.

We HAVE to decide that we’re going to push ourselves.
We HAVE to set challenging goals…
to raise our OWN bar…
to VOW to be better than we were yesterday…
if you DON’T want to quit, than you aren’t pushing yourself enough…
It’s in THOSE moments where you’re tested, where you have that conversation in your head….IS THIS WORTH IT? CAN I KEEP GOING? AM I CAPABLE?

You have to get to THOSE moments.
THAT’S when your human spirit shines thru.
THAT’S when you see what you’re made of.
THAT’S when you cross over into the land of what SEEMED impossible, now appearing within reach.

The moment I get comfortable or accept the mundane or roll around in mediocrity..
THAT’S the day I stop living because I stop growing.
I want to do amazing things in this life.
I don’t have all the answers.
I don’t know what I’m doing most of the time, but I know my human spirit is strong and is willing to fight.

Is yours?

Be resilient. Be willing to work. Realize you WILL get knocked down time and time again. But also know that you CAN get back up stronger than before. And when all else fails, call your mom and cry. Get it out. Tomorrow’s a new day. 🙂

P.S. Have you ever considered joining our Dare 2 Dream team? Last week we had a live video chat explaining more about what we do and how we do it. Shoot me a msg at if you missed out and I’ll get you the recording right over.

Digging Deeper,
Jessica Bowser Nelson

human spirit

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