By: Victoria Fisher

Our lives are made up of choices, experiences, and the people with whom we surround ourselves. We are not the same person today that we were five years ago because of the choices we have made and the people who have helped us get to where we are now. The most beautiful thing about life is that everyone lives a different one, and none of us can fully understand another because of that. We often think we have it all figured out, but we have no idea. I wonder how many of us go day to day without recognizing the people who have shaped us into who we are. Whether it is someone who raised us, sacrificing everything to give us the best life possible, or a stranger we just happened to meet in the grocery store, there is someone in our lives who has changed us in a positive way.

-For myself the person who has influenced my life the most is my grandma. She is the most amazing woman inside and out. No matter how late it is, she will be there with open arms to listen and bake me cookies. Her support and encouragement is what has gotten me through so many tough times in my life. Without her pushing me to Christ in all I do, I would not be where I am today.

-The people that are closest to you could be the ones that influence your life the most.

Anna Dailey (freshman): “I think the person who has influenced my life the most would be my mom. She always works really hard at everything she does, and even though I doubt myself she always believes in me.”

-The people we don’t think much of sometimes are the ones who create a spark inside us that we never knew we had or needed.

Mark Jones (junior): “My baseball coach. He taught me to be a leader by the way he lived. He taught me how to impact those around me by showing up and doing the little things that don’t always seem important. And lastly, he showed me work ethic; he showed me that the days you don’t feel like giving it your all are the most important days to show up and give it 100 percent.”

-Those who are helping you get on the path you want to be could be the ones who change your life forever.

Nate Wieland (senior): “The whole religion department here at Greenville has influenced me the most because they taught me to think critically about my faith.”

-Our families usually have the most influence on us because of the love they show us and the things they sacrifice for us over and over.

Emily Gaffner (junior): “For me, it would have to be my mom (the most all-powerful Gaff on campus) because of her constant drive to be present and loving despite all of the pain that she experiences. A lot of people never see that, because she does such an incredible job at hiding it. I want to be as compassionate and empathetic as she is, and hope to be at least half the woman she is when I get older.”

-Sometimes it’s the little things that first draw us in; then we realize just how much one person can change our lives forever.

Emma Wieland (freshman): “My youth pastor has impacted me more than I can explain. He drew me into church with games, food, and friendship. He then brought me to my faith in God. He’s the reason I became a stronger Christian.”

-Those who are always there and can be counted on are people who can change our lives for the better.

Georgann Kurtz-Shaw (GU librarian): “My husband, because we have lived together for over three decades. I bounce my ideas off him first and go to him with everything. He’s my greatest encourager and has taught me everything about forgiveness and love.”

-The people who give up everything for our well-being and support us in everything we do are the people who leave a huge impression on our lives.

Erick Garcia (sophomore): “My mother is by far the person who has impacted my life the most. She sacrificed everything by coming here to America. As a kid you don’t realize just how much she sacrificed, but now I do everything in honor of her. She is the hardest worker I know, and she does this work so she can support her family. She changed my life by showing me how to work hard and be independent. Now, my goal is to help people embrace their culture and who they are.”

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