Making a Difference via the Little Things Lost among the Bigger Picture


Sydney Swanson is a 3rd year Psychobiology major at UCLA hailing from Coronado, California. She’s on the Campaigns Committee this year and lives by the words of Emily Dickinson: “Forever is composed of nows.”


Do you think you can make a difference in the world?

I am 1 in 7.4 billion people in this world. This fact makes its difficult to think that I, as an individual, would have any impact on this world. I would say others feel this way too.

Growing up my dream was to change the world, and it still is. Cliché right? Yes. However, this dream is what pushed me and continues to push me today. Ellen Johnson Sifleaf once said that, “If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough.” Let me tell you, my dreams scare the heck out of me. But what scares me more, is not pursing them.

While I sometimes doubt that I can make a difference, I try anyway because I know I can have an impact on the world, big or small. I am also going to tell you a little secret right now: you have already made a difference. Your “changing the world” doesn’t need to be huge. Remember that time you donated cans, gave your spare change, or did something nice for a stranger? Your simple acts of kindness are making an impact. You can change the world.

My dream to “change the world” can start by changing one person’s world, and being part of GlobeMed at UCLA allows me to reach this dream and more. We are partnered with the Mpoma Community HIV/AIDS Initiative in central Uganda to help ensure sustainable long-term clean water sources, as well as sanitation education. Not only does GlobeMed give me the opportunity to help a community, but it also connects me with a community at home that encourages and challenges me every week to make a difference. I have learned an immense amount from my peers this past year, and their passion inspires me to purse my dreams, no matter how much they scare me. While one person can make a difference, having a group that supports and encourages you along the way is invaluable. Thank you GlobeMed for giving this to me.

I challenge all of you to find a dream that scares you too. Make a difference.


“In a gentle way, you can shake the world.”

― Mahatma Gandhi


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