Your Complete #CDECAICDC 2017 Opening Session Recap

The Collegiate 2017 #CDECAICDC opening session kicked off with the traditional parade of flags. Each state was able to demonstrate their enthusiasm and display the accomplishments achieved by each chapter with winners of the passport award, academic honor award, chapter leadership award, and many more individuals who showcased leadership skills throughout the academic year.

With the great enthusiasm of the association we met Eddie Slowikowski. This was the beginning of a great journey that over 1,500 college students would soon realize. Eddie believes in four major components to help shape your future. First, discover your passion. Second, ignite your passion. Third, do the work. Lastly, become the best version of you.

Eddie expressed that when we first begin to discover who we are as individuals we tend to forget that the most important and valuable product we have is, OURSELVES. Cultivating the person who we are and what we have to offer is one of the most important and valuable things that as individuals we should always remember. By openly admitting that we are not perfect and that there is always room for improvement even at the peak of our career we discover our passion and allows us to open up in ways we never thought were possible

Eddie never truly excelled on an academic level and was satisfied with getting straight C’s through high school. He was known as the best runner his varsity team had ever seen, but was also labeled as the laziest kid on the team. When school was out of session he was not allowed to sit around home and do nothing. His father would tell him he needed to get a job which was something he was really good at getting but bad at keeping.

Finding your passion sometimes comes in a blessing in disguise. After being fired from multiple jobs Eddies father decided to tell him a story about small family restaurant business that had a vision to have a shake company.  The sales person who sold the business the milk shake machines saw the potential that this company could have from the first opening day. The salesman quickly jumped on the opportunity to buy out the brothers and expand the business.

The brothers were offered $1 million dollars for the business. They quickly jumped on to the opportunity to make money and only saw the business for what they had and not what it could be. The brothers name was dropped from the original business when the rights where sold and this business is now known as McDonald’s. In the smallest opportunities in life you can find you passion and this can ignite this courage to fight for a dream that you believe in.

When it comes to doing the work he expressed how the DECA organization provides students with the tools and skills to succeed, but it is up to us and each individual to show up, deliver, and own our future to move forward.  We were able to relate more to Eddie as he shared his family story. During the great time of Ronald Regan’s presidency his mom and dad decided to make a big change in their life style and became entrepreneurs. Do to this change and lesser income they had to downside on their family home, and move into an apartment to accommodate their new lifestyle.  His families’ goal became to do what they loved and to really chase after their dreams.

Having goals is important because it gives you a destination that you want to reach and allows you to visualize that is possible which ignites something in the present to make it happen. As students and individuals who want to succeed in the “real world” we have to find what will spark our passion. From that belief and spark we can make anything happen. We need to believe that there is a reason for the path before us and we need to allow us to explore that path and discover why we have this drive for our passion. Above all else we have to be in an emotional and mental prepared state of mind to ensure that we can endure the obstacles that will be placed in our path.

Eddie used his running passion to help pose a question that would open up the realization of becoming the best version of ourselves. As a distance runner, what will happen once you hit that half mile? That third quarter? This is when it starts to hurt. That’s what you train for, to push your body to those limits physically, mentally, and emotionally because you have to learn how to deal with the pain. That’s how life is, when life crushes you, knocks you down, something doesn’t work out the way you wanted, or someone you loved or trusted totally disappointed you, you have to learn from it and become the best version of you from that experience.

#CDECAICDC is not only a platform for us to showcase our strengths, but it is an opportunity to do what we are passionate about, perform the work we set out to deliver on during our time here, but also leave this conference as better individuals and be able to give back to others who might be lost in their path. Life experience often shape who we become as individuals.

These life experiences sometimes come with some suffer and pain, but if there is something that we learned from Eddie and his story is that it is up to us to take control of our future, keep in tune with the person who we were before that pain and hurt, really own our future by keeping our authenticity, do the best job we can, and it our give it our all to make our dreams a reality.

This article was written by #CDECAICDC Social Media Team member, Violeta Tellez. You can follow Violeta on Twitter @violetatellez5.