College went by in the blink of an eye. Granted, I DID graduate a whole year early after graduating high school early, but it still went by too fast. I remember how I felt graduating high school. I felt free and ready to graduate. I graduated early because I was ready to get out and meet my goal; I had a goal in mind to move forward and graduating high school was the first step to do that. High school felt like a cage or a chore to me, something I definitely didn’t like to do, but I had to because I would otherwise get in trouble. College was different though.
In college, I wanted to be here and I went to class because I wanted to, because I was moving forward in my life. Graduating high school, I felt relief to finally be done, but now, graduating college is bittersweet. As I continue to move forward to meet my next goal way earlier than usual, I realize that life isn’t just about meeting goals.
To me, life has always been about accomplishing things. Everyone always asks you what you want to do in life and we say this and that: Goals. Superficial goals put in place by us to measure or predict our future and success. But after the death of one of my classmates, someone I got to know well the past year, I realize that life is really about living, not about accomplishing.
Of course, it’s not even in my DNA to just “live” life and “relax” even if I tried; I’ve always been goal-orientated. In a way, my accomplishments make me feel more value, but they’re not what give me value. I mean, maybe they give me value as a potential employee and as a law school applicant, but not as a person. Karli didn’t get to “accomplish” college. Well, not officially – she was killed 2 weeks short of our graduation. But she did live life. Her death was even harder for me grasp because of the sadness I felt for her not being able to truly graduate, falling so short of a goal she was weeks away from grasping. Karli never walked across the stage to get her degree. But the saddest thing about her death really, about any death, is that we lost someone, we lost Karli. We lost someone who touched lives, and someone who touched my life. I won’t remember her for what she accomplished or how successful she was, no one will. We’ll remember her for what kind of person she was, how she made us feel, the sound of her voice, and what made her, her. My drive to keep going, to meet goals, and to do everything well, is part of my personality. But, as I keep pushing and moving forward to accomplish yet another thing before the age of 25, I know that my accomplishments don’t define me. What I do in between the accomplishments and on the way to the finish line, is what I’ll be remembered for. The people’s lives I’ve touch along the way.