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  • I am very proud of the person I am today, and I can’t help but think that I am a direct result of some very inspirational people. Some of them are famous and some are simply brilliant human beings. I have observed, learned, and loved every last one of them and their awesomeness has shaped me into the person I am today. If any of these people are to somehow read this post I’d just like to say, Thank you for being who you are and know that if nothing else you have inspired and shaped one life for the better.

    So here we go, the list of people who have inspired me throughout my life (in no particular order)…

    Jonathan Harris: In 10th grade my English teacher had us watch TED Talks at the beginning of every class. I wasn’t a huge fan of this tradition; TED Talks can be kinda dull and monotonous sometimes and I was more interested in just getting class over with. Although, one day Mr. Sager had us watch a video of a man named Jonathan Harris. He wasn’t talking about anything life changing, or important, just about his life and the projects he was currently working on. For some reason though, this video changed my life. Jonathan Harris showed me the world from a completely new point of view and it inspired me to stop looking at the world with the “lets make money and get through it” lens, and with the “lets go out and make things better” lens instead. There are times in my life when I get caught up with school, family, or friends and i find myself loosing focus on my overall goals and aspirations. Every time this happens all I have to do is go back and watch that TED Talk and it somehow puts my life back into perspective. Jonathan Harris inspires me to question the world around me and I don't know where i would be in my life if i was never forced to watch that TED Talk. Thank you.

    Hank and John Green: I know that they are two separate people and they have indeed each inspired me in totally separate ways. Although the community that they were able to create together has influenced my life in more ways than I could ever imagine. Hank and John Green are the creators of the “Nerdfighter” community. I ran across these guys’ youtube videos by complete accident, and this was an accident that changed my life for the better. Hank and John were able to snap me out of my “moody teenager” funk and show me that being a nerd is not only okay, but cool! They opened my eyes to the idea that just because i am not rich, skinny, and perfect doesn’t mean i can’t make a difference. They were just a couple of brothers who were trying to get to know each other again and were somehow able to build a MASSIVE community of nerds (just like me) who get together and work to make the world a better place. They donate to thousands of charities, provide micro loans to Kiva.org, and provide support systems for thousands of other nerdfighters around the world. These two men were able to successfully created something so much larger than just them. I am in awe of these men, and their selflessness and pure awesomeness inspires me to be a better person every single day.

    Tyler Oakley… Oh Tyler Oakley. I love this boy! He’s just a regular guy who knows how to make incredibly entertaining and insightful videos. I have seen every video he has created and i love watching his life unfold before my eyes. He started as a freshman education major just making videos for fun, and now he is a beacon of hope for LGBT youth across the globe. He is just a normal guy who has found a way to share his life experiences with people who are going through the same things as him. He uses his fame to spread words of love and acceptance to the people of the Internet and has become very successful. He doesn’t inspire me in the same way that Jonathan Harris or Ze Frank do, but i admire him so much for everything he has done throughout his life. He makes me smile every single day, and I hope that one day i can impact someone in the same way that Tyler Oakley has impacted me.

    Ze Frank is another discovery I made while being forced to endure a year of TED Talks while in Mr. Sagers American Lit class. From the very beginning there was something very special about Ze. The first TED Talk I watched him in was about nothing overly “amazing” or “life changing” he was just talking about the wonders of the internet and how much fun it can be. It wasn’t until VERY recently that I looked farther into Ze’s message and realized just how amazing this man was. It’s difficult to put a finger on exactly what it is Ze does. He makes entertaining eccentric vlogs, insightful blog posts that lead you to deeply ponder the meaning of life, creates silly video games that from the surface have no point, and creates music that is so simply but can lead to major change is a persons life. One project that really moved me was called “Chillout”. A subscriber of Ze wrote him a message conveying her feelings of anxiety and asked for him to create her a song that she could sing to calm her down. After a couple of months Ze came out with the most amazing song i have ever heard. It’s very simple but somehow makes a huge impact. The lyrics of the song are simply “hey. you’re okay. you’ll be fine. just breathe” Ze had thousands of people from around the world record themselves singing this mantra and simply edited together. It’s not something I can easily explain, but this song has earned Ze a spot on my list of inspirations. I love this man.

    I feel like I could go on forever listing all of the people that inspire me. People like Meghan Tonjes, Harvey Milk, Christopher McCandless, or any person that has ever fought for something they believe in. These amazing people have been such huge parts of shaping the person I am today, and I only wish that I could thank them each individually. I cannot begin to express just how thankful I am to have these people to look up to, and I hope that one day I am able to influence one person HALF as much as these amazing people have influenced me.
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