Ayla Ahmetovic’s identity, openness, and amiability has shaped her life and the world around her

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Ayla Ahmetovic

Ayla Ahmetovic’s open-mindedness has made her wise beyond her years

With geniality and wisdom like tricks up her sleeve, freshman Ayla Ahmetovic walks through life with the comprehension of important lessons that take others a lifetime to learn. All it took for her to achieve this broad understanding of life was following her own morals and mindset.

Ayla’s frame of mind begins with finding the truth and pertinence in some of the most common proverbial sayings.

“I have the mindset that you only live once, so live good but live responsibly,” Ayla said. “People are always saying you’re only a teenager once, but at the same time, you have to be cautious of your future. I just try to be the best possible version [of myself], and I encourage other people to do that [too].”

On top of taking accountability for her actions and their inevitable consequences, Ayla also recognizes that she is not alone in her human experience. Ayla’s connections to those around her shape her day-to-day life and help her understand the importance of being considerate and friendly no matter the circumstance.

For Ayla, compassion and empathy aren’t daily choices but rather ways of life.

“Even though sometimes I go through pretty dark times, my [mindset] always helps me,” Ayla said. “It helps me open up my mind [and realize] no one knows [when] I’m going through this, so how many other people are going through the same thing? It reminds me to always be nice to people because you never know what they’re going through.”

Though there’s no obvious source from which her benevolence stems, Ayla has always made the choice to be kind to others even when it means going out of her way to do so. Though, for Ayla, extending a friendly hand is never a river too wide to cross.

Ayla has reaped the benefits of her own consideration and good nature by seeing the impact of her kindness on others. One example being an out-of-the-blue text message that she received after reconnecting with an old friend whom she hadn’t seen in a while. 

“[My friend] was like, ‘thank you so much for hanging out with me—[I] was [at] a time when I didn’t really feel like I trusted anyone,’” Ayla said. “It’s just nice to finally be like those people in the movies where I did something good without realizing.”

Through her past experiences just like the rekindling of an old friendship, Ayla has realized the power of her own actions and more specifically the power of her own goodwill. This understanding of her impact on others has inspired her to take every opportunity to encourage everyone around her to be as open-minded and positive as she is.

Ayla’s respect and support for all forms of individuality have allowed her to make any situation into a teachable moment for the people in her life—even a circumstance as menial as a mother-daughter trip to the grocery store.

“My mom is from Europe, where people are diverse, but it’s not like people have pink hair and all that,” Ayla said. “I’ll just be in the store, and I’ll see someone, and I’ll [say] to my mom, ‘don’t you like her pink hair?’ I just like to make other people see how beautiful other things [can be].”

This experience with her mother is just one of many where Ayla seized the chance to help others appreciate the uniqueness of the expression of the human spirit. Ayla’s forward-thinking, open-minded mentality presents countless opportunities for her to make the world a better place, but they don’t always occur in such perfect ways as a polite, familial conversation. 

Ayla’s commitment to opening people’s worldview has often been challenged by situations where her peers aren’t as willing to improve as she is. Once, while scrolling through TikTok, Ayla found a negative comment from her friend on the account of someone who was a stranger to the both of them. Instead of letting it slide, Ayla decided to turn this moment into a discussion to talk about what it means to walk in someone else’s shoes.

“I was on TikTok, and I saw someone from school leaving this hate comment on this random girl’s page, and I was like, ‘oh my God, I don’t get how people can do that,’” Ayla said. “So, I texted her and she was like, ‘oh, well it’s fine. She won’t see my comment.’ I [told her that] you never know [what can happen]. I’m a spread-positivity kind of person; I’m not so positive myself, but I’m not going to go bully someone on social media.” 

Whether it be over the phone or in the aisles of a grocery store, Ayla always finds a place in any situation to insert kindness and inspire friendliness. Ayla knows that at the end of the day, it’s best to be remembered for being kind than anything else. Like everyone else, Ayla has had her less-than-kind moments, but she always rises above and finds a way to get back into the swing of kindness.

“Sometimes I can have my bratty moments, too,” Ayla said, “but I always try to be the nicest and most positive [that I can be]. I always put myself in other people’s shoes, and I feel like people don’t do that enough.”