“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.’ We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” – Marianne Williamson
Bold. Genuine. Confident. Grounded. These are all words that describe a college sophomore named Abby Reese. Like one of her favorite quotes by Marianne Wiliamson, Abby shines. After spending a semester as Abby’s classmate and co-worker at our campus newspaper, I have noticed a few characteristics of hers that differ from the average Millennial. With great posture, a clear voice, and lovely blue eyes, Abby presents herself in a very professional manner – when you’re around her, you feel secure. As you get to talking to her, you realize that her professionalism radiates throughout her – Abby is a sensible woman in all that she does. While confident, she is not arrogant. While she considers what will be best for her, she also considers how her decisions will affect others. She is not afraid to take bold moves, but she is not irresponsible. Abby has a clear mind and a full heart, and through her thoughts, experiences, and goals, I believe that she is just what my Millennial generation needs.
The oldest of three children, Abby has a younger sister who she described as her “mini-me,” and a younger brother who seems to be the family prankster, finding a way to make a joke in most every situation. In 4th grade, her parents bought an auto glass business. From that point on, Abby recalls the times she and her siblings would spend in the business office or with the employees, both factors that brought her closer to her family.
Throughout her life, Abby has been a practical thinker. In Kindergarden, Abby formed a love for theater and thought it would be fun to be an actress and a singer when she grew up, like the performers on Broadway. While most kids grow out of their childhood dreams because a phase ends, Abby explained that she realized her dream of becoming a musical actress wasn’t very practical – the lifestyle would be pretty tough, especially if she wanted to have a family someday. Although she explored other career paths, she remained active in her passion for acting. In high school, Abby didn’t just perform in her school’s plays. Instead, Abby used her passions and skills to make a difference in the lives of others as she was a member of a traveling theater company that did plays on teen issues such as alcohol, drugs, and cutting. After the performance, the cast would share testimonies or things they had learned with the audience, then break up into classrooms to talk to the kids in a Q & A session. In regards to her passion for acting and theater, Abby stated, “I started to find that theater could be a ministry, and it could be a way to do social justice, and just a way to show Christ’s love.”
When it came time to apply for college, Abby applied to 17 schools from coast to coast. Finding the application process similar to a game, she didn’t want to settle for anything less than what she could achieve. Abby thought critically on what she wanted out of her college experience – with faith playing a large role, her list narrowed down, and God ultimately guided her on the path to Wheaton College. Upon arriving freshman year, Abby took theater classes and decided to major in Business and Economics and minor in Communication. After taking Internet Journalism and starting an editing job at the Wheaton Record newspaper this year, she decided to change her major to Communication because she found great pleasure in all of her communication classes.
In the future, Abby wants to do anything that relates to journalism or work with non-profits, “…anything that can bring to light other people’s stories, so I think that would probably be journalism. Either doing some sort of management work with people who are struggling economically or being in a business, doing the writing side of things,” she said. Lastly, Abby would eventually like to live in Texas. Why? Because it is warm, less expensive and crowded than California, and more her style than Florida.
For my final question, I asked Abby, if she could solve any problem in the world, what would it be? After much thought on this broad question, she answered with the issue of poverty. However, her answer had more weight than many would ever put into it. Throughout her life, she explained, finances have always been an important issue to her, and her parents have always stressed the importance of money. “The thing about poverty is I don’t want everyone to be rich, I just want everyone to be happy. I feel like money shouldn’t just be a means to an end, it should be a way of glorifying… I just want people to live lives that are meaningful,” Abby said. If I could give a motto to Abby’s life, I would not hesitate to say that she lives a life of meaning – and a contagious one, at that.
Look out, world. We have a Millennial who is filled with bright ideas, bold goals, and a mind that wants to help solve some of the world’s biggest issues. While many people can say that they want to accomplish these certain things or help certain people, I have no doubt that Abby Reese will accomplish all of the goals that she has set for herself, keeping a good pace and a grounded mindset every step of the way.