Student skydiving

To be an effective leader, you must first lead yourself and truly understand your direction. Lauren Beckham from the University of Mississippi asked herself the hard questions while attending LEAD Cape Town. We cannot wait to see those aspirations come to life here in the States!


The million dollar question: what do you want to do with your life? If I could count how many times I have been asked this question in my college career, I would be the richest woman in the world.

The answer is, I really don’t know. For three years, this question has stressed me out. Not knowing what your future holds after the best four years of your life is terrifying. You will have more freedom but you will be held accountable for all your decisions that could change your life forever.

As I approached my senior year, I feared what the future held. As I hopped on a seventeen hour plane ride to South Africa, I promised to leave all my stress behind for the summer. I told myself I would have time to figure everything out when I got back.

Although my time in South Africa has been short but sweet for certain, I have realized the importance of asking yourself difficult questions. Your future is all about asking the hard questions you don’t want to ask. The easiest thing in the world is to conform to what everyone is telling you to do. Instead of running my problems, I realized I had 80 friends standing closely behind my cheering me on. It is important to live in the moment and don’t take a single second for granted. We may come from all walks of life, have different career goals, or absolutely hate the eggs Benedict at old biscuit mill, but everyone is willing to stand by you and support you in good and bad times.

This trip has allowed me to push away my stress while allowing me to ask the big, important, scary questions about my future. What is holding you back? Summer classes, an internship, laying out at the pool, leaving your comfort zone? Five weeks may seem as if it is your whole summer. For some, it might be your whole summer. But if you never say yes to experience, you will never experience adventure. To find yourself, you must step outside of your comfort zone. When exposed to a unique culture, you will recognize the person you are in that moment is who you are. Being confused, lost, and completely insane expose the real, true, vulnerable layers of who you are. In this moment, you will discover your voice and your ability to answer the big questions you have been running from.

The lessons you learn, the people you meet, and the experiences you encounter will change your outlook on summer forever. During my time here, the staff has inspired me to not leave my aspirations in Cape Town, but to take them with me and spread them like a virus. Many say they have experienced life changing events. I have the privilege to say LEAD Cape Town has changed mine and it can change yours too. Don’t just go…Go Global.

Service Week in Cape Town

One thought on “The Million Dollar Question

  1. What a wonderful opportunity to have this truly awesome, and perhaps life changing experience given to you, Lauren. I know it will leave an imprint of experiences in your mind and heart and that you will forever be changed by those times. Five weeks that will influence you for the rest of your life. Beautiful!

Leave a Reply