The Words of the van der Stok Family

What makes me me?

Sammi Vanderstok, Tanya Triggol and Janie Kinney
June 2012

At the CARP Winter Ball, three normal college students were awarded for heroic academic achievement. Here, they introduce a bit about themselves, and what pushes them to succeed.

Sammi Vanderstok -- 1st Place
Marist College Business Administration, Finance.

What makes me, me: I believe in the value of being your best self and making your talents publically available. I am strongly driven not only to be successful but also to make a positive impact in society. Committing to my studies represents the first step in achieving my goals, and will supply me with the skills necessary to effect significant change on a societal scale. Having this big dream gives me the motivation to push myself and work hard even when I don't feel like doing it.

I also believe in true love! I believe that the relationships and blessings we are given have the potential to be the most beautiful relationships out there and I know that I personally wouldn't be where I am today if it wasn't for my husband. Not only has he been my number one fan and supporter (he made me breakfast every day last semester so I could get to class on time and pulled all-nighters with me so I wouldn't have to do them alone!), he is strong where I'm not and vice versa. As a joke, whenever something good would happen to either of us, we would say "Go Team Vanderstok!" since in reality, most of our victories are a result of that teamwork.

Biggest pet peeve: How I lose socks, just 1 sock from each pair. I think it's true that the washing machine eats them.

Tanya Triggol -- 2nd Place
University of Indiana -- Perdue University Indianapolis, Nursing

What makes me, me: I am motivated by my sense of responsibility -- once I have committed to something or someone, it is my duty to go through with what I have promised. I view my education as a commitment to myself, my family and most importantly, Heavenly Father.

However, I can't say that I wake up every morning with such an inspirational sense of responsibility. For as many good days, there are just as many difficult days...on those days, I feel as if my "cup" is completely empty and I have nothing to offer to anyone or anything. In those moments, I do what I was told to never do -- I think of myself. If I don't fill up my cup and remember why I do everything I'm doing, then I will just bring everyone around me down (and believe me, I am pretty good at that). So, I do things that I know will make me happy, like spending time with close friends, treating myself to Starbucks, or the wonderful combination of both. I also have a page in my journal where I list things I love about myself, and I'll force myself to read it when I'm really feeling down so that I can remind myself that I am a person worth being loved.

Biggest pet peeve: People hiccupping without trying to get rid of them. I'm that passive-aggressive girl that explains (in a matter-of-fact way) that holding your breath gets rid of hiccups, as if they didn't already know.

Janie Kinney -- 3rd Place
Fordham Graduate School of Social Service, Social Work

What makes me, me: I never quite fit in with the people around me. I was a tomboy but I hated sports, I am a girl but I liked hanging out with boys. I think, overall, this allowed me to have a lot of compassion for anyone that didn't quite fit in. I could never be angry or judge anyone for being the person that they are and I always really believed that people should be the person that makes them happiest. Often I feel that inconsistency or lack of integrity can impede this process. I have a bad habit in that I'll call a person out when they're acting in a way that doesn't truly represent who they are or the values that make him/ her happiest.

I want to do research in finding the best methods of helping others. I want to find out where the problems start from and develop methods tackling them from their root. In doing clinical social work where, as a counselor, I would be working to help my client do what is best in his/her life, it would actually be my job to call people out on where they need to find consistency and do what's best for themselves. I want to push people to be their best selves. That, to me, is very exciting.

Biggest pet peeve: Janie is long for Jane. It is a grandma's name. No one names their child Jane anymore. But there you have it. 

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