Kaity Puffer, Bronze Medal Nominee (2014)


Albert Einstein said, “The only source of knowledge is experience.” Einstein’s quote can take on two different definitions: learning from your mistakes and experiencing something new. Albert Einsteins quote can seem like an ultimatum, but what hes saying is that experience has a wide range of definitions and everyone can take a different view. He’s saying that as long as you grow from it, succeeding or failing does not matter. Its a matter of learning something new and doing something youve never done before. Challenge yourself to be the best and to take each task just a little bit farther.

In the working world, learning from your mistakes can be terrifying. I am terrified of failure, but through working in a firm and experiencing an internship, I’ve learned that failure is one of the best ways to learn. I’ve heard it said many times that you learn from your mistakes. This is why the internship world is such a great place for a student or recent graduate to be in: failure is expected. The best intern will work hard, show up before everyone else, and ultimately not be afraid to make mistakes. This is no excuse though, grace cannot always be expected and yelling and ripping paper will become common sounds. It’s terrifying and hard, but in the many forms it can take, nobody can skip this stage.

I was in Belize for a mission trip over spring break and on our way to see the Lamanai Mayan ruins (on the bumpiest bus ride of my life), my team and I passed a Mennonite civilization. This particular civilization fled from America and made a pact with the Belizean government that if they were granted the ability to live free from Belizean laws, they wouldn’t bother anyone. Throughout their life, Mennonites do not leave the small community they live in. They drive a horse and buggy and reject new technology. The men work all day and the women stay inside the house. Gender roles are huge in this community and the women are not allowed to talk to anyone unless their husband is present. This kind of community is intense and hard to live in. The chances of a Mennonite seeing anything other than their small community is zero to none. I couldn’t help but feel sorry for them because of how much I know they were missing. But ignorance is bliss, right? If I stay on the topic of the working world, ignorance will get you nowhere. Experiencing new cultures is one of the best courses someone can take (thank you Judson University for the summer Europe trip). Dont be afraid of the new.

I am not the most experienced person in the world, coffee runs, running errands, and alphabetizing files are still in my near future, but I do know that without experience there’s no way I can get out of this ripped paper stage. There are still many things that I need to experience and that’s pretty exciting. I intend to keep making mistakes, trying new things, and in that odd chance, being successful. If I don’t, then how else will I gain the knowledge I need to become successful? The only way to do that is through experience.


Judson University Chapel


Europe Tour Sketches


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