By Morgayne Mulkern
The only way you can truly live your life to the fullest potential is to dare yourself to do what you want the most. This is important for your success and happiness and personal fulfillment.
This was the message Hilary Corna, author of the new book One White Face, brought to Bridgewater State University.
“It is most often ourselves that keep us from being our best, no one else,” Corna said. “You have a responsibility to make yourself happy. Ordinary choices will not bring about extraordinary results.”
Corna visited Bridgewater State on October 9 in the Conant auditorium and the event was sponsored by program committee and the student government association.
Corna began the night by telling everyone in the room to take on simple dares, like to hug the person next to you or to go to the front of the room. She told of her experience taking on her own personal dares and challenges and becoming successful as a means of inspiring other students to do the same.
Michaela Santos, an anthropology major and senior at Bridgewater State, reacted very positively to the speech.
“It was very interesting how she was able to follow her dreams and not listen to discouragement from other people,” Santos said. “It was very inspirational.”
At 20, Corna wasn’t afraid of going abroad to Japan after she learned Japanese. After she graduated, in May 2007, she dared herself to purchase a ticket to Singapore and attempt to find a job, in two months, with only 2,000 dollars in cash.
Corna accepted challenges. She ate the eyeball in a Japanese restaurant to gain the respect of her peers.
She wasn’t afraid to talk to a little Japanese boy in a swimming pool, meet his father who just happened to be a very successful Toyota dealership member in Singapore, and take on his offer to work for Toyota despite the fact that she was three things that no one else in the office was: young, female, and white.
During her time working for the Toyota dealership, Corna worked in the Philippines to try and help improve their efficiency at getting cars to customers in a timely manner and before those customers canceled the order.
As much as this made Corna a typical part of the team, she stood out. She was defined by her race in an organizational chart and her gender could not have been forgotten with her pink name plate.
When a student asked her how she felt about this, she explained that it was just part of the culture. She had to learn when to choose her battles. For example, one time she had to clean up after the men on the team because she was a woman.
“I was angry but then I realized you can either fight the culture, or adapt to it,” Corna said. “It wasn’t that I couldn’t prove myself, but I have a huge challenge, and it is up to me to prove myself.”
Despite it all, Corna found success. She showed other people and led by example of what it means to take on a challenge and get what you want out of life.
She had each student in the audience write down a personal dare, or goal, and the reasons or obstacles holding them back. Then she had students who were comfortable tape their dares on the wall.
“At first I was confused, but then I thought it was interesting how she used it as a metaphor and used the dares to show us our challenges,” Santos said.
Morgayne Mulkern is a Comment staff writer. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.