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Garrett Tocci

(GARE-it TAH-see)

A thinker. A creator. An optimist. Driven by a passion for people and a pursuit to make an ever-lasting impact. Through understanding and collaboration, I believe that we can achieve anything. With resilience, persistence, and patience, I have now found an eager need to work alongside individuals who want to push the boundaries of what is possible.

My Story

As the older brother of two sisters, I spent many of my earlier years diligently paving a path for them. Attempting to be the best role model - showing courtesy, politeness, and gratitude any chance I had. Maintaining a positive reputation among peers and teachers to ensure that they were primed for success. But as I got older, I began to falter, losing touch with this ideal and falling off the path of altruism. Hampered by my own feelings of inadequacy and anger, I became more disconnected from the family that tried everything to support me. Yet the discontent with my own situation led me to blame my parents and defer personal responsibility for the chaos of emotions within. This dark cloud that loomed over me inevitably pushed away more than family. Riddled by my hard-nosed attitude and harsh judgements, even my closest friends started to drift away. So I found myself feeling alone and depressed with nobody else but myself to blame. And that's when I realized. The 'pain' and the 'suffering' were shackles only created by my mind. I began to understand that these feelings only came with the belief that I did not have control. The belief that I was a victim to my own circumstance. My perception became reality, thoughts influencing feelings and feelings influencing actions. That is when I realized that if anything were to improve, it would have to start with changing the way I thought. This epiphany was the turning point. I no longer viewed myself as a victim, but rather a product of my environment. The circumstance that 'victimized' me, consequently empowered me with the ability to reshape my reality. After that moment, I became more curious and open-minded, gaining an appetite to explore new possibilities

Entering college having adopted a more open, curious, and ambitious mindset, I found an abundance of opportunities. A floor full of zany personas from across the globe, a handful of professors keen on propelling growth, and a team that grew into a second family of sorts. While I expected higher education to take similar form to secondary education, as a recent graduate, my experience begs to differ. Recently, I have come to realize the power of university stemmed from outside the structure of curriculim. Although the classroom supplied the building blocks, it was those conversations beyond the four walls of the lecture hall that sculpted my mind to be a more critical and independent thinker. Upon graduating university, I found my greatest advantage to be diversity of thought more than the prestigious backgrounds of my professors. Undoubtedly, education provides a network of valuable connections and learning opportunities, but for me, it was those moments to hone my self-identify that made the cost worthwhile. Unspoken, yet interwoven, is the exploration of self. College especially allows you to look beyond the foreground of your past and conditions. Providing a chance to re-contextualize the narrative and become the person you want to be, instead of the person people told you to be. I am still far from perfect, but I am always willing to learn. Knowing that with each day comes a chance to become better than the day before.

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