Lessons in Leadership Week 2- Savannah Whitehead

During her talk, Savannah touched on many pieces of her own story including perseverance and the ability to pivot when necessary. How we can remain focused on our goals and priorities throughout college and beyond, recognizing the difficulties we may experience in our own paths in regard to perseverance and the times that require a “pivot”?


  • Kaylie McClintock

    Staying focused on all of the opportunities and new experiences that come through unexpected life changes is very important. It is easy to get stressed and weighed down by an unexpected turn of events but the ability to stay positive and find a way to work with what you have is very important. Savanah talked about when she was given the choice between her dream job or the job where had risen her way to vice president. She said that, although she loves the way her life has gone and has never regretted the choice she made, no matter which job she picked neither option was wrong. There is comfort in knowing that you are in charge of your life and that as long as you keep growing and adapting there is no wrong option.

  • Cooper Autry

    Coming into college, I thought a lot about the concept of pivoting. I asked myself and have continued to ask myself questions like, “Did I choose the right major?”, “What if I want to change majors?” and “What if I complete a significant portion of my degree then realize that the major I selected is not the right one for me?”. In terms of remaining focused on our goals and priorities, both in the present and the future, I believe the key is to keep the big picture in my mind. When I say big picture, I don’t necessarily mean a specific career, specific net worth, etc. However, when referring to the big picture, I mean the general outcome of our goals and priorities. For instance, my ideal general outcome would be having a career that does not feel like work and ultimately finding my true passion in life. In terms of what that career and/or passion is, I have no idea yet, but I do have the general premise I stated above in mind, and that helps keep me grounded and helps me have the perseverance to keep pursuing my goals and aspirations. In terms of times in life when we will inevitably need to make a “pivot,” we must remember that life is a journey. At times life will take us on a straight path, but at other times it will take us on abrupt curves. Ultimately, I believe the key to dealing with a “pivot” in life is not to be too hard on ourselves. We need to realize that the world is our oyster. We steer the ship that represents our life, and when a change of course is necessary to live our best lives and achieve our goals and dreams, deciding to “pivot” is no doubt a hard choice but, in my opinion, often a necessary one.

  • Carsyn Cardwell

    Savannah said several really encouraging points that spoke to me in her presentation. I liked that she talked about life pivoting because even though I am just a freshman in college, I feel like I have already experienced this. Deciding to change my major and living on my own have been big changes in my life, and I feel like it can be easy to feel overwhelmed by it. One thing Savannah said that stuck out to me was that “taking a leap of courage is never bad”. I believe that this means you will never know what will happen if you do not try. Getting involved in activities on campus, meeting new people, living on my own, and choosing what I want to do with the rest of my life are all things that take a lot of courage. It is easy to fear failure and rejection when there is so much change in our lives. I think that the confidence that Savannah has in herself, is something I aspire to have in college and my future career. Her optimistic approach to her life is something I will try to do to persevere through life’s pivots.

  • Abby Harelson

    Savannah mentioned her pivots, and a big one was when she decided to quit her new job in Sedona three days in because it wasn’t for her. This is a good example that it is okay to “pivot” or change your plan if it will be better for you and your goals. As we go through difficulties, which we will, Savannah told us tips like pursuing your passions, having a vision, surrounding yourself with great friends/community, and never being scared to take a leap of faith! Another good thing to take note of what she said was “hope for the best, prepare for the worst”. It is important to have perseverance, a positive mindset, and not back down from adversity.

  • Gracie Barnett

    Savannah’s story was very eye-opening and motivating. She expressed the idea that it is okay to pivot and change paths because not everything will always go perfectly as planned. In order to stay focused on our goals, we must accept that these difficult obstacles are okay and are bound to happen. We have to ask ourselves how we are going to respond to these situations. We have to think of the positives and be optimistic about the future. Savannah showed a perfect example of this when she finally decided to quit her job in Arizona and never look back. She knew that something better would come along and accepted the fact that the job opportunity was not meant to be. Good things are always ahead if you just keep moving forward.

  • Adjoa Yeboah

    I loved hearing Savannah’s story because it was something that was a much needed motivation in terms of how my college career could go. Remaining focused in our goals is something that can sometimes be difficult because a lot of times we wonder what or who we’re even doing it for. Savannah’s story reminded me that we genuinely need to do things in our college career for us. Making ourselves happy should be one of our top goals. At the end of the day it is going to be you and your career and you don’t want to be stuck in something that never made you happy to begin with. Some of the things that help me to stay focused is to get involved in things on and around campus. There are so many amazing groups and organizations that I would love to be a part of and that can help me to stay motivated throughout the school year.

  • Chase Sutton

    I would say that being open to change is something that every person has to be able to adapt to during their time in college. However, at the same time, a person must recognize what their goals are and if they are willing to put up with the struggles to reach them. Savannah expressed that while she has had many “pivots” throughout her life, she still remain focused on her true passion, which was art. Savannah’s willingness to reevaluate her personal experiences throughout her time in college allowed her to find a occupation that she is truly passionate about and loves and I believe that is something that all people should take into consideration when they are thinking of “pivots” of their own. There is no way to truly find what you are passionate about until you try out new things, which I think is the main idea that Savannah taught me during her presentation.

  • Jenna Gaberino

    Savannah touched on many important subjects but a big one that stuck with me is that life doesn’t always go the way you planned and that is ok. Life is not black and white, just because you didn’t end up where you expected or maybe what you wanted wasn’t what was best for you doesn’t mean that you can’t turn it around and work with what you were given, there is no right or wrong answer. The important thing is to not let pivots get you down. As long as you have determination you can make the most out of a not ideal situation to learn and grow from it. My major is undecided and I’m not entirely sure what I want to do so I’m sure I’ll go through many pivots before I find the right path and that is ok.

  • Caroline Cowherd

    It is inevitable that the path to success will present failure and difficulties. To remain focused on our goals it is crucial to have faith in our ability to achieve, as well as adapt to redirection. Savannah continuously highlighted the significance of confidence, courage, authenticity as key factors in success, and how they offered support when pivots were required. These components offer the opportunity to grow as an individual when exposed to challenges, while never losing sight of our goals in the process. While often unplanned and terrifying, obstacles in life can help us reflect on our goals and dreams, and how the path there can be as rewarding, and eye opening, as possible. Savannah’s speech encouraged us students to face life with confidence, and never lose sight of our goals.

  • Marissa Bumgarner

    Savanah was very uplifting in her speech by providing motivational advice about finding passion during and after college. Savannah believed in her passion and had faith in the person that she wanted to be. She did not let her speedbumps get in the way and she spoke in a manner that inspired me to believe in myself. One point she made was that “it is okay to pivot”, change is normal in life, and having a strong support system in your life is an important characteristic. Another point that stood out is having the motivation and confidence to do something you have never done before. College is a time when I can become the person I have wanted to be, and I have a clean slate to take a leap of courage.

  • Isabel Celedon

    During her presentation, Savannah Whitehead brought up many interesting points about her personal experience and how a “pivot” is nothing to be ashamed of. A pivot can be a small or drastic change, but I believe it can push you in pursuing something that you are excited about and truly love. I think that having an optimistic attitude will help with change and could be the encouragement each one of us needs in staying focused on our future. Savannah Whitehead also mentioned to never be discouraged or think of yourself as a failure because you can only learn from your mistakes and new opportunities can be the steppingstones that ultimately lead us to where we belong. Savannah Whitehead helped me to understand that you can overcome a pivot if you vision yourself taking on these new responsibilities with confidence and perseverance.

  • Bryce Atkins

    I believe that the best way to stay focused on goals and priorities is to realize the benefits that will come when those goals are achieved. For example, working hard throughout college will lead to graduating with a degree, which will then lead to finding the job that you one day dreamed of having. Goals can be large like graduating college, but goals can also be small like completing an assignment on time. Both big and small goals can be seen as a means to an end, whatever your own personal “end” may be. Throughout life, we are bound to be faced with adversity of some kind and may be forced to make a pivot from our original plan. Although it can be frustrating and confusing to do so, Savannah described how to react to those situations best by stating “when you are projecting out joy and happiness it will find its way back to you”. This means that if you continue to have a positive attitude during the challenging parts of life, life will find its own way of working things out. It is important to remember to be patient when going through pivots, and accept that change can be a good thing.

  • Lily-Marie Fraley

    I tend to either worry about the future or wish that the future is here already. When I do that, I miss out on being present and enjoying the little things. Since I started college, I have been more focused presently. When I am, I am setting goals for myself, and my priorites have changed for the better. When Savannah talked about her “pivot” expereience, it was eye-opening to hear that sometimes our dream career is not what it seems to be. Instead of giving up, I found it encouraging that Savannah did not let that bad experience stop her from pursuing her career. It is a great lesson to remember that when times get tough, continue where you are and focus on the things that bring you joy.

  • Breanna Henry

    Savannah touched on a lot of topics that personally, I really needed to hear, one of the most important being that “pivoting” or taking a different path than you intended isn’t necessarily a set back, but could easily be a step forward. College is all about finding ourselves and discovering our goals and changing them constantly if that’s what it takes to find our passions. There is so much pressure to be secure in your ambitions and goals for the future, but Savannah helped me to realize that there is also comfort in knowing that you can change your mind, that you can fail, and it doesn’t define you if you don’t let it. There will always be something in the way but it is up to you on how you overcome those obstacles and not let it discourage you from your goals. Like Savannah, if you are confident in yourself and your abilities, nothing can sway you from your goals and what you are truly capable of.

  • Alisyn Dunn

    I feel like no matter what goal or what you are trying to remain focused on, pivoting will be a part of the process. No one’s track to success is a straight line (unless you are extremely lucky). I think the difficult part of pivoting is just being okay with change and being okay with something not going the way you planned. I know for me that change is a difficult thing to accept, but unfortunately, I’m at a period in my life with a lot of change. I am learning to pivot a lot; whether that be with my major, my classes, or even who I’m surrounding myself with. I think the important thing to remember while having to pivot is your why. Why are you doing what you’re doing? If you can answer that and still believe in what you’re doing then I think you’re on the right track for you and that’s all that matters.

  • Sam gillis

    To keep your focus on your goals can be challenging especially when you are going into something completely new in life. Whether that is a career change, going to college, or a traumatic event that has recently affected you it is easy to be knocked off the path without focus. To maintain focus you have to have your core values, things that will never change and keep you locked in to who you truly are and want to be. Core values are just as they sound they are your core, your building blocks, your guide into new and unknown ground. Keeping these values can be a struggle when you first find them, but once you have them locked in nothing throws you off your path to your goals in life. To be able to roll with the punches that come in life you have to know what you are at your core and what those values truly mean to you.

  • Grace Hibbs

    Up until college, our school lives have been pretty set in stone. You take specific classes for 6-7 hours a day, and I’m sure many of us were only worried about passing those classes to get to the next step, the next grade, and then to the graduation stage. We’ve now entered college and our lives are significantly less established. We’re still worried about passing class and getting to the next step, but how we get there can be different for each person. Some will graduate college in four years, some less, and some more. Some will stick to the major they chose when they applied, some will change it once, and maybe some will change it multiple times. One thing that’s for sure is that it’s not going to be easy for any of us. As Savannah demonstrated in her presentation, we will all face challenges and we will all have to pivot. While those moments are stressful and intimidating, there are plenty of ways to get through while still remaining focused. The biggest realization I’ve had within the past couple of years that’s helped me a lot is that while life may consist of unexpected obstacles, it is still in your control. It is your choice how you react and move on from such obstacles and nothing will stop you completely if you don’t allow it to. It’s crucial to accept that setbacks are inevitable and that it’s okay to take steps backward in order to get back on the right track. Savannah gave the perfect example of working through a setback when she talked of her first job not working out like she hoped it would. First, she recognized that that situation wasn’t going to help her reach her goal, so she quit. This is a step backward on the surface, but it allowed her to then apply for new jobs, finding one that did aid her goals and getting her back on the right track. It’s important that we all accept that we’re bound to pivot at some point and that that isn’t a bad thing. If needed, momentarily minimize your goal to a more attainable one in order to feel the progress being made. You will reach the big dream only through small dreams first.

  • Emma Martinez

    I believe the best way to remain focused on your goals without losing motivation is by remembering why you do what you do, that sometimes unexpected circumstances will happen, and from time to time we won’t be able to control them. As difficult as it can sometimes be, your “why” always has to be present. It’s what moves you to achieve your goals. At some point, everyone will have to pivot or change plans last minute, and that is okay. Sometimes, we must fail or encounter a roadblock to realize that there is an alternative to our original plan.
    “Fall seven times, stand up eight”.

  • Kinesey Sherman

    I was deeply moved by Savannah’s stories. The conversation she had about pivoting was important for everyone to hear. It is essential for us all to live out our passions. After hearing Savannah’s story about leaving a great job and going to her “forever” job, I sat down and questioned if this degree would be my passion for the rest of my life. She also explained that while you may always be 17 in your hometown, you are not at home at college. Having the opportunity to be anything you want now motivates us to continue our college and degree goals. Despite this, we will encounter obstacles along the way. By staying focused on who we want to be, we can overcome the challenges we face. It’s just a matter of keep on going.

  • Olivia Sander

    Savannah’s story had very eye-opening points that resonated very closely with me and the journey I had getting into college. She talked about how “we may be 17 in our hometown, but college is not our hometown.” That hit home to me. Growing up in a small town it was always all eyes on you, people wanting and waiting for you to fail. I thought it was such a cool point to make as most of us are incoming freshmen still with that preconceived notion that we have to fit a certain standard that was designed by the elders of our town. I also like how she said that “failure is not a bad thing, it is just a yellow light.” I also think that is an amazing point to make while talking to college students. We all have this idea that we have to be perfect and that we have to ace everything. She said that it is okay to fail, to pivot, or to completely do a 180. She did an amazing job expressing that it’s okay to not know everything, and she was an amazing speaker to listen to.

  • Blair Majors

    During Savannah’s talk, she talked about how it is okay to pivot from the path you thought you would be on in life. I think that’s an important message for students my age to hear because we come into college with a preset plan that doesn’t always work out. When I first came to college my idea of what it would look like was completely different than what I am living now, even just a year later. I wish I had someone tell me at the beginning of college that it is okay to stray away from the path you thought you would be on. She also talked about how it’s important to find work you are passionate about. When you are doing something you’re truly passionate about, you will enjoy life so much more and be glad that you took the leap of faith that you needed to get there. Savannah’s message was a great example of one of my favorite quotes, “If it were easy, everyone would have done it.”

  • Marian Simon Coric

    Savanna shows an extraordinary career path. Since life is not linear, sometimes you are faced with situations for which you have no solution at first. Her spontaneous way of reacting to difficult obstacles in life has led her to her current success. As the world is changing through digitalization and globalization, the future job market will also change a lot. Savanna’s attitude towards life has motivated us to pursue our interests and use our talents to become successful in the things we like.

  • Sheba Saju

    Savannah’s story was very inspiring; it spoke to me. I loved how she took several leaps of courage throughout her life. For example, she leaped courage by moving away from her hometown to attend OSU in Oklahoma for college. Secondly, she quit a job at an art gallery in Sedona, Arizona because she didn’t feel comfortable working there. Even after being promoted as vice president there, she decided to follow her heart and never look back. This taught me that I need to remain confident in myself and my passions despite the adversities I may face. I can stay optimistic by focusing on my mission in life. I want to work in the healthcare field one day. I chose this career because I believe it is the best way to serve people by building life-changing relationships along the way. I know the road ahead of me is going to be difficult as I will face many challenges and uncertainties. However, I will be able to stay focused if I keep reminding myself of my purpose in life.

  • Halle Melton

    Savannah was a brilliant speaker and I really was able to appreciate the advice she gave. As a person who loves to plan things out and have routine it was nice to be reminded that I have the privilege of being able to change gears at a moments notice. She emphasized on working hard but knowing when to quit. Overall a great message on how to navigate life.

  • Tyler Gleason

    I have found that the ideas of perseverance and pivoting are closely related, and after listening to Savannah speak, I believe that both concepts lie in one of her main points. “Always hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.” Her life story and energy on the stage exuded positivity, and that is essential; maybe not to be successful, but it definitely is in order to enjoy what you do. If we don’t have hope for the future, it becomes very challenging to set a goal. Provided we work on our outlook of the path we are taking and we learn to set goals, we still have another thing to consider, roadblocks. This is where preparing for the worst comes into play. Throughout Savannah’s career, she had been looking forward to where she wanted to go, so when she did hit a major roadblock on her first potential job, she had the confidence to keep moving forward. Even if we pivot in a different direction, we’re still moving. Even if we lose money or comfort because of a choice, we very well may gain contentment, and I agree with Savannah that contentment is more valuable than first two things.

  • Norah Stephenson

    When life changes it is very easy to become scared, frustrated, and even quit sometimes, but in life we have to make hard decisions and persevere. Savannah talked about making hard decisions, like leaving her job in Sedona, Arizona and going from Vice President at the Edmond Chamber of Commerce to working at the Edmond Institute of Fine Arts. She expressed that these pivots in her life were really better for her than anything she could have imagined. Like Savannah conveyed in her message, to get through these pivot’s, which can oftentimes be scary, we need to look to our family and friends to be our sounding board and we should never settle for something that doesn’t match our passions or values.

  • We never know if the choices we take end up being the right ones. Just like Savannah when she changed her major to art because she fell in love with her elective class. Making choices that affect our lives is like taking a risk, we still take it even though we might not get the end result that we hoped for. Coming into college I feel we never know if what we made the right decision. Its the start of our future and nobody wants to mess that up. Some, come in a undecided and others already know what they are gonna do for the rest of their lives. College is the base of someday making our dreams a reality, so, we come in with hope and faith that everything will go according to our plan. But sometimes that shift or maybe put on hold due to different adversities. We can never expect it to go smoothly in one path and that’s part of it, you learn from your experiences. You will persevere and focus on your end goal if your still passionate about until the end. Just like Savannah, she didn’t stop until she met her goal. She had many difficulties, from quitting her job in Sedona to finally getting the job she was satisfied with, she never changed her mindset in meeting her end goal. I feel your goals will remain the same through out any challenges if there is still passion in what your doing.

  • We never know if the choices we make end up being the right ones. Just like Savannah when she changed her major to art because she fell in love with her elective class. Making choices that affect our lives is like taking a risk, we still take it even though we might not get the end result that we hoped for. Coming into college I feel we never know if we made the right decision. It’s the start of our future and nobody wants to mess that up. Some come in undecided and others already know what they are gonna do for the rest of their lives. College is the base of someday making our dreams a reality, so, we come in with hope and faith that everything will go according to our plan. But sometimes that shift or maybe put on hold due to different adversities. We can never expect it to go smoothly in one path and that’s part of it, you learn from your experiences. You will persevere and focus on your end goal if you’re still passionate about it until the end. Just like Savannah, she didn’t stop until she met her goal. She had many difficulties, from quitting her job in Sedona to finally getting the job she was satisfied with, she never changed her mindset in meeting her end goal. I feel your goals will remain the same throughout any challenges if there is still passion in what you’re doing.

  • Pivots are never ideal. Savannah in her talk had many pivots in her life, but she pushed through and met her end goal. Sudden choices due to certain circumstances is like taking a risk, we still take it even though we might not get the end result that we hoped for. Going into college is the start of our future–-the first step into making our dreams a reality one day, so, we come in with hope and faith that everything will go according to our plan. But sometimes that shift or maybe put on hold due to different adversities we face. We can never expect it to go smoothly in one path and that’s part of it, you learn from your experiences. You will persevere and focus on your end goal if you’re still passionate about it until the end. Just like Savannah, she didn’t stop until she met her goal. She had many difficulties, from quitting her job in Sedona to finally getting the job she was satisfied with. But throughout the whole thing she never changed her mindset in meeting her end goal. I feel your goals will remain the same throughout any challenge if there is still passion in what you’re doing.

  • Kathryn Irwin

    Savannah had one continuous line feeding through all her edit it was following her passion.this consistency helped her enjoy her work. she pivoted when she knew that the career she had at the present moment no longer served her. I took from the message that it doesn’t matter what people think you should.You Should do what inspires you and what makes you happy. People doing what they are passionate about brings innovation and change.

  • Lauren Clark

    While listening to Savannah Whitehead’s talk, I realized that I could relate to her in many ways. Although I am not at the level Savannah is in her life, I have also experienced a major pivot in my life semi-recently. Savannah touched on how she attended college far away from her hometown to have new experiences and get an entirely fresh start. Like Savannah I moved from my small town in Ohio to attend college here in Edmond. This was a huge pivot for me because I realized during my senior year in high school I needed to get away for personal reasons and to gain new experiences in another part of the country. To stay focused and thrive during this major pivot I have benefitted so far from setting goals and perimeters for myself. As Savannah stated during her presentation, you should always say yes to doing things. I find this information useful, however, to say yes to things I have some goals to achieve first. These include making sure all my work is done and determining whether I must wake up for practice or not the next day. To stay focused in college it is necessary to have a good work life balance and an open mind to all opportunities as they come. Finally, the biggest takeaway I got from Savannah’s presentation was that we are too young to be miserable for even a brief period, therefore, I will always make sure that I enjoy where my decisions take me.

  • Benjamin Hastings

    Savannah talked about many traits leaders should exhibit throughout her presentation, but I want to focus on the ones that meant the most to me. Primarily, she stressed confidence through outside preparation. Dressing in professional clothing, studying information about what you will encounter, and arriving earlier than required all contribute to higher feelings of confidence. Another topic she covered was remaining positive in stressful situations. Unwavering consistency and perceiving failures as learning experiences are characteristics I need to improve on as a leader. Finally, somewhat unrelated to her message, I want to become more involved in my community. Her work with VIBES sounds like an absolute blast, and doing something similar with the Edmond community would be an excellent opportunity to lead those around me!

  • Sam Gillis

    o keep your focus on your goals can be challenging especially when you are going into something completely new in life. Whether that is a career change, going to college, or a traumatic event that has recently affected you it is easy to be knocked off the path without focus. To maintain focus you have to have your core values, things that will never change and keep you locked in to who you truly are and want to be. Core values are just as they sound they are your core, your building blocks, your guide into new and unknown ground. Keeping these values can be a struggle when you first find them, but once you have them locked in nothing throws you off your path to your goals in life. To be able to roll with the punches that come in life you have to know what you are at your core and what those values truly mean to you.

  • Kama Wyatt

    During her speech, Savannah Whitehead detailed her own personal story in which she made a large pivot that affected her career. This was a huge decision on her part, as it required a lot of strength and bravery to switch her job. Her story prompted me to think about pivoting, and I’ve discovered that I find pivoting to be scary and challenging. Whether it be big alterations with my performances in speech, switching my major last minute, or even just thinking about my future, I find myself fearful of making changes. However, Savannah describes pivoting as a positive and productive thing. In her own words, “Taking a leap of courage is not bad; Just because you haven’t done it before, doesn’t mean you can’t do it now”. Her positive outlook on making these tough decisions was impactful, and altered my outlook on change. It’s easy to worry about the future and what obstacles you might face. And oftentimes, we get wrapped up in worrying about the “what ifs?” instead of considering the “why nots?”. To remedy this cycle, I find that acceptance helps. There’s a quote I’ve been hearing a lot recently that I believe is applicable to this prompt. “It’s not a matter of if things will be difficult, but when”. Failure, obstacles, and tough decisions are mutually exclusive to success, goals, and priorities. You have to face them head on in order to grow. Because of this, next time I find myself at a pivotal decision I will embrace it. I will acknowledge that not everything will be easy, rather than hoping it will be a breeze. Afterall, if it’s easy, wouldn’t everyone be doing it?

  • Ashley Wood

    Savannah had many key factors throughout her talk. Staying focused on her goals was a large part of her speech. She knew what her passions were while having the mindset of not being afraid to change. Dedication is extremely important, but you must choose to grow yourself through your choices. Being able to recognize, understand, and pursue your goals is a skill not a lot of people have. Ideally, everyone could be a goal-getter, but it scares the majority of people. Pivots are natural, everyone experiences them. You can have a goal and still change your path to get there. You must set the goal and work towards it, your methods to get there can change but the goal should always be in mind. Savannah was a perfect example of what it means to be goal focused while choosing growth.

  • Conner Mclaughlin

    Savannah’s whole story spoke to me, though the theme throughout of pivots in your path in life in particular spoke to me the most. It very much reminded me of quotes like “not all those who wonder are lost” and “just because someone stumbles, looses their way, does not mean they’re lost forever.” The term pivot really does encompass a great way of looking at life’s obstacles, because you can choose to either try to go through a roadblock and hurt your growth in the process, or pivot to move past these obsticales, and use them as ground to push yourself up and move forward in life. Another reason her story spoke to me is because not every obstacle showed itself as such immediately. Her job in Arizona she described as starting out amazing, but quickly showed itself as just not a good fit for her, and that opened up an opportunity for her to come to Oklahoma for her current job. It shows that Sometimes there is a very large difference between what is best for you and what you think is best for you, especially when all paths haven’t revealed themselves. Savannah as a person and her story showed me that it’s okay to be nervous about where you are, but that you are always where meant to be, just not where you might be meant to stay. You learn as you go, with the good experiences and the bad, and to use your roadblocks and obstacles to pivot yourself to start a new adventure.

  • Ariel Luna

    The speaker for this week was Savannah Whitehead. She works at the Edmond Fine Arts Institute. During her visit she presented a presentation that told us about her life and how it has gotten her to where she is today. She has always loved the arts and wanted to get out of small town Abilene, Texas so she found herself at the Oklahoma State University. Savannah told us about her internships and on campus jobs that showed her that she had a path in the arts community. She then told us about her first job out of college and how it was a bad experience. I think many of us worry about something similar happening in our lives, or at least I know I do. She had to go through that rough time in life though to find her way to where she’s at now. I was so impressed when Savannah presented the Vibes project. I immediately tuned into this and the internship that her office offers. I would love to be a part of that community. I am an art admin with emphasis on dance major so this kind of job is right up my alley. It helped me feel more confident in my major to hear about her journey and present-day success. I would ask her what ways I can discover what my path is and who to get connected with. Vibes also connected with me because I am a huge promoter of the arts. Being in a community full of artistic surroundings feels so welcoming and beautiful. It’s amazing to have a place to go connect with other people sharing the same passions as you!

  • Milana Khaikhan

    For me, staying focused on our goals and priorities throughout college and beyond is not an easy task. And it is very important to stay focused on all the opportunities and new experiences that come as a result of changes in life. It’s very easy for me to get stressed because it’s all new to me and because I’m from another country where everything is different. For me, a motivation is that I have achieved everything myself and at the moment I am responsible for myself. At the end , I will be able to tell myself that I did everything myself without anyone’s help. However, sometimes I need to get away from everything and then work on. Usually I set aside a day for this and I can do whatever I want without thinking about anything.

  • Zach Kernal

    Savannah made it very clear in her talk that she ended up where she is in her life, happy and successful, by constantly looking for ways she could be involved in what she is passionate in. Savannah had her fair share of pivots getting to where she is now, as most people do, but Savannah made it a priority to go somewhere she would be valued and that she could add value to. I think her entire talk is extremely relevant to the college experience. Deciding a major can be extremely daunting and most people will change their major at least a few times throughout their four(ish) years in university. But when you have a destination in mind the path to get there doesn’t matter. Pivots and any kind of change can be really scary, but in order to keep your path headed to your end goal, you can’t panic when the pivot begins to happen, we just have to remember it’s natural, and that no matter what your path looks like it’ll lead to where you’re supposed to be.

  • Kade Williams

    Savannah’s story would really highlight the different opportunities college can present. It showed me how in college, it is okay to find passions in other fields when you are already working hard towards one thing. It is very inspiring to hear about someone going through college and being able to switch it up and find something that they are passionate in and be successful in it due to the switch that they made in college.

  • Bergen Bailey

    In order for us to endure the many challenges that life brings us, we must be able to shift direction at any given point. Recognizing when things go wrong will build our character and our drive to succeed. Success is about persevering until you reach your goals while also prioritizing the most important things in life. For you to be able to reach your goals, you must first set them. Goals will make things easier to prioritize in our lives. Let’s say that you want to be a successful entrepreneur. In order for you to reach that goal, you must prioritize your business or product before most other things. Goals and priorities often require “letting go” of other less important things. Having a source of motivation, whether that be family, friends, or your future, helps us recognize the mistakes or failures in our lives and helps us to grow from those experiences.

  • Lane Willoughby

    I used to have this irritating idea that in order to achieve something or be successful you must stick to the plan. I never really understood when something kept getting delayed or took a turn. I completely understand, after my experiences in the last year, the importance of being fluid. I think the speaker tried to stress this and this is what makes her able to “pivot when necessary”. Coming into college, I had a few really important goals and values that I wanted to stick to, and hopefully with the ability to be fluid, I will be able to take problems as they come and change my path, but still achieve everything I want.

  • Brynn Coppedge

    Savannah Whitehead spoke about having perseverance and the ability to pivot when faced with difficulties. I know that, like everyone else, I will experience challenges during college and beyond. These challenges can be personal or professional, but it is important to remain focused on our goals and priorities. One way to do this is by learning to pivot or adapt when necessary. For example, Savannah had a great job where she had risen to vice president. When she was presented with her dream job, she had to decide if losing her benefits and salary was worth the risk of following her dream. Ultimately she took the risk, and ended up feeling more fulfilled. This is a great lesson for anyone who has a choice to make, or is required to make a choice.

  • Chloe Falls

    Focusing on the goals and priorities one sets throughout college can be much more difficult than many might anticipate. I think Savannah touching on the concept of “pivoting” while in college was reassuring to a conflicted student like myself. College is a time to learn about yourself and what you value, and over time those things can change tremendously. The best way to keep ones focus and manage priorities responsibly is to set sight on the end goal and what steps are necessary to get there. Something I loved about what Savannah had to say was her motivation to keep going and persevere even after things didn’t workout how she originally wanted or expected. It seems this is a common occurrence amongst college students as they change their majors or life plans due to unforeseen circumstance, I know I’ve already dealt with these. I hope to adopt some of Savannah’s characteristics and I appreciated how inspiring her message was.

  • Sheridan Robinson

    Since my senior year of high school, I have been apprehensive about my future; whether it would fall apart at the seams because of my lack of in-depth deliberation or a career not being successful enough to support me. However, Savannah’s story has put my mind at ease due to her ability to face her difficulties head on as well as furthering my current priorities with the quote she referenced; “I have a lot of proof that the world is conspiring to make me happy,” by Mathew McConaughey. I prioritize my happiness by finding every simple thing in life as a reason to smile, which currently has been counting how many little campus squirrels I see each day. I hope that pursuing my goals of learning more about the health sciences accompanies my ability to stay joyful as well as being fulfilled in my path. Despite the fact that my path is definitely not set in stone, and that sometimes challenges may arise, I will remember to step back, acknowledge my values, and accept that changes to a career, if beneficial or ambitious, may help me in the future.

  • When Savannah’s dad told her that she was too young to spend even 6 months unhappy, it really stuck with me. Sometimes people are so caught up in what could possibly happen in the future that they don’t take the time to enjoy the present or just ride out the process. Everyone is on their own path and this is the time to make mistakes and adjust. Having anxiety I tend to live in the future and the land of “ what ifs”. But you have to find the inner strength or support to push through and focus on your goals.

  • Eli Payton

    I think that Mrs. Whitehead’s story shows a lot about not just how to make large successful pivots in life, but also why it is important to feel free to pivot. A flaw easily visible in society today is that we often write off people that change their plans as failures at their initial endeavors. Whether it be a career path change or a academic major switch, there is a tendency to portray these changes of heart as deficiencies of the person that tried these things out. This often makes it scary for people to make these large lifestyle pivots, because they fear the judgment of others even more than the the thought of being stuck in a career that they don’t find fulfillment in. This is what makes Savanah’s story such a good example of what can happen when someone prioritizes what they are passionate about over the judgement of others or short term financial disparities. In conclusion, I would urge anyone reading this to not let others define what a successful career path looks like for you. Allow yourself the grace to try new things in hopes that one day, you can make a career doing what you love doing, rather than what you have to do.

  • Jacob McBride

    I grew up on the values of sticking to the plan and not quitting. I think the speaker was trying to convey that taking certain “pivots” in life are absolutely okay as long as a positive outcome is bound to happen. I learned this over the past few years of my high school career. Sophomore year when covid cut school short, I decided to stop playing basketball and pursue showing cattle and being involved in the FFA. This was a totally brand new experience on life that I would not have had before. I also appreciate her emphasizing that hard work and keeping your nose on the grindstone is incredibly important. I love the advice of “Be a yes man, but along with that hope for the best but prepare for the worst”, I think this is a great outlook on life. You can always enjoy your time and live in the moment, while being prepared for life to happen.

  • Ahlaam Elmi

    I really enjoyed savannah presentation, which showcased many important messages. The awareness that Pivoting might be necessary even though it is not part of your plan, is a major change which requires positive mindset .
    The key to staying focused on your goal, is knowing your reason for working toward this goal. knowing that there will be obstacles that come in your way. I really liked what savannah said was “hope for the best, prepare for the worst”. It is key to have a positive mindset, but also be aware of setbacks that can occur in life. This means getting back up every time you fall, while picturing your goal in sight.

  • Lillie Taylor

    Savannah touched on many points in her life that required a pivot, which made me realize that it is alright to change directions in life. I feel that in some situations, making a “pivot” in life has a negative stigma surrounding it. However, often when we make “pivots,” we are doing it because we are unhappy. Keeping in mind that these “pivots” are leading us to happier life can help us stay focused and motivated to keep going. I also believe that comparing all of the good things that are ahead to the negative things that occurred before a “pivot” can keep us optimistic for what is in front of us. Reminding ourselves that what is ahead of us can be better than what is behind us is ultimately motivational in itself.

  • Jolie Barton

    Savannah’s story was super touching. I felt like I could immediately go change the world once she was done. She made me realize I can do anything I put my mind to even if something gets in the way. I loved the way she talked about her pivoting point. It made me feel more secure in trusting the unknown. She is living proof that you just have to trust the process and everything will work out for the better.

  • Jesse Brooks

    Life is full of change. From the time we enter life to the time we exit, most will experience more change than continuity in their lives. That change can come from many different things whether that’s changing schools, friends, careers, etc. We have to be able to roll with the punches and understand that change will happen whether we want it to or not. We have to keep trying to find what we want out of life and attempting to reach it. If we don’t know what we want we have to experience all that we can until we find something that we are willing to persist through hardships to keep. To do this we have to have the mindset of finding what we are passionate about and be open minded to change. This allows that ability to persist and get the most out of life and seemed to be the mindset of Savannah.

  • Destiny Ryan

    Savannah Whitehead spoke of many things during her guest talk, but there were three key points that really stuck with me. First, she advised us to make decisions for ourselves because if you’re not doing what you want to do then why do it? Savannah said, “You can redefine who you are. No one cares about who you were in high school.” and I believe that is so important, especially for our class to hear. When becoming a leader, you have to decide what kind of leader you want to be, and what kind of person you want to be. Ask yourself, what is most authentic for you individually. It doesn’t matter who you were in the past if you take to opportunity to define yourself now. This leads to the second key point. Always say yes. Take every opportunity given to you and create them where there aren’t any. You can do anything and stop at nothing if you just say yes. It’s a simple concept, yet still so powerful. And lastly, it’s okay to pivot. Pivoting was a consistent idea throughout Savannah’s talk. There are going to be big life changes and that’s okay. A leader doesn’t stop at these changes, but rather embraces them and keeps going. By following what you want to do, not being afraid to say yes to everything, and taking the pivots head-on, you can be the best version of yourself.

  • Jackson Mckinney

    Moving forward is the biggest factor in ending up at where you want to be. Personally, I could spend so much time on decisions, big or small, that I would never reach any substantial goal that I could set myself. When moving forward or making a decision, even if you decide to go with something else later or “pivot” like Savannah talks about, at least you are progressing and gaining more life experiences along the way. Staying focused for me is about staying focused on not getting bogged down with the plethora of daily choices. As long as you are making progress and doing what you truly feel is best along the way, you are bound to reach whatever goal that you may set for yourself.

  • Rylee Lindsay

    I think Savannah did an amazing job about informing the class on ways to focused on personal goals through pivots. As a woman in this world it is hard to stay focused when you are being doubted constantly. Savannah shows that even through the difficulties, following your heart will eventually lead you down the right path. During her presentation, Savannah talks about using your college years to change, and find your true passions. In my opinion, when you are passionate about something, you will stay focused on it, just out of love. Through all of Savannah’s obstacles, she continued to choose her passion for art over being unhappy. With that being said, I think the key to not getting distracted off of your priorities in life is to find joy in them. When you are happy doing something you will continue to do it. At the end of the day, I think the key to being successful is to find things in your life that bring you genuine joy. Focusing on the positives in your life can make a big difference on your outlook, and attitude towards life. When you continue to push towards a positive attitude and follow your heart, all of the pivots you experience turn into learning experiences that will shape you into your best self.

  • Mariah Deere

    Savanah’s story had lessons in it that I feel many people could relate to.From switching jobs to find which one fits, having a plan and it being totally flipped, to not exactly know where to go with life at times. She helped me understand you can find a career that you never planned on having or one that didn’t fit into your major at first, but still tie your passion into your job. She gave great points on how to build connections and take chances. It was nice to hear how her project has helped so many artist and is still growing and impacting people and shows no sign of stopping.

  • Elizabeth Estabrooks

    We can remain focused on our goals and priorities throughout college by taking classes and joining clubs that we’re passionate about! She loved art growing up and even though she was studying business at the time, realized that being an art history major was exactly where she needed to be. When there are difficulties, we need to be able to hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. Difficult situations can present themselves in a number of ways. The way that we can recognize those is to take a second, think about our goals and how we can achieve them, and THEN pivot!