I am convinced that everything happens for a reason, whether it is to teach us a lesson, ease us into another stage of life or simply mature us. Fate has a way of weaving in and out of our lives like a car through rush hour traffic. One minute you think everything is going great, and then the next minute ... not so much. These are the moments when “you never know how strong you are ... until being strong is your only choice."

I have seen it in myself and in others, just how strong we can be while struggling with a situation that we have no answers for. There is no way for us to anticipate what is around the corner, whether it is a death of someone close, an unforeseen illness or the breakup of a relationship. However, it is up to us to decide how we deal with the stroke of fate that has presented itself to us.

Someone once said, “Moving on doesn’t mean we forget about things. It just means you have to accept what happened and continue living.” They also said that, “every scar has a story." I believe that this person was referring to eventually knowing why this random act or crisis occurred in our life. Each random act is like a tale, where we have the beginning to the story ... but not the middle or the ending. In time, the complete story will be revealed to us and by then, we would have learned, accepted or grown from it. The scars are to remind us of the situations and the pain we have already faced, proving just how strong we can be.

I have witnessed others go through trying times, and of course I also have. This year alone I have come out on the other side of my problems. From the loss of three grandparents, an aunt and a friend — believe it or not — I am stronger for my losses. Although there have been days where it seems like I can only focus on one thing at a time or else my world will come crashing down, I have managed. I have discovered just how strong I can be and how much I am willing to face in order to support the people I love. In retrospect, I have been fortunate compared to many, but that doesn’t take away the value or the meaning behind any particular experience. I can honestly say that I have made choices this year that I never expected I would make, but I have also stayed true to who I am. Somehow, no matter what choice I made, I have seemed to end up exactly where I belong.

I think fate and life are temperamental friends. One minute they are getting along famously and the next minute they are fighting like siblings, with you caught in the middle. But for the most part, fate and life really do get along.

I know we all want to believe we are the authors of our own story … but fate has a funny way of letting us know she is the co-author. Although we may not always be in complete control of situations, we always have the ability to choose how we respond to fate or how we work with fate to finish our story.

— Samantha Warchol is a sophomore in psychology. She can be reached at swarchol@utk.edu.