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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Illinois State chapter.

If someone or something leaves their mark or leaves a mark, they have a lasting effect on another person or thing. The truth is we leave a mark on everyone we encounter in our lives one way or another. Even a minor event has the potential to change us. A seemingly insignificant event could impact how you feel one day, causing a chain reaction in how you act on that day, and how you act on that day could affect your entire life. Our identity is nothing more than a collection of experiences.

The people and experiences in my life have shaped me into the person I am today without a doubt. There are people I don’t talk to anymore whose families are still in my prayers. I still hold on to every birthday card I have ever received in my twenty years of living. I can still tell you each of my childhood friends’ middle names and birthdays. To this day I still order the same Starbucks drink a girl in my freshmen year religion class recommended. Our lives are made up of so many people and when people become parts of our lives, some parts remain long after they leave. And in the same exact way, it’s comforting to know there are so many lives you’re still a part of that you have no idea about.

Everyone comes into your life for a reason; there’s something you can learn from everyone. But there are some things that you can learn from the people in your life that are unique to you. They’re not in self-help books, movies, or podcasts. No, the things you learn from these people cannot be replicated in any other place. 

The biggest lesson I learned from everyone in my life is to always strive to be a light in someone’s darkness, to be the light that helps others see; it’s what gives life its deepest significance. I have learned that the most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness and kindness.  

In short: you either get bitter or you get better. It’s that simple. You either take what has been dealt with you and allow it to make you a better person, or you allow it to tear you down. The choice does not belong to fate, it belongs to you.

Maybe our world will grow kinder eventually. There is no denying that it is evil in this world but the light will always conquer the darkness. Maybe the desire to make something beautiful is the piece of God inside each of us

Moira McGuire

Illinois State '24