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Dear Diary: A Self-Reminder to Live in the Present

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Mass Amherst chapter.

Dear Diary,

Ever since I was a child, I have always been looking toward the future. When I am 14, I will be in high school. When I am 15, I can drive. When I am 18, I can vote.

I was always excited about the next step and was constantly trying to plan how I could get there. I am very plan-oriented and by laying out each stage of my life, I was able to establish a clear path to follow. 

The positive aspect of this was that I could minimize my anxiety about the future. I knew somewhat where I wanted to end up, and therefore, would be able to revolve my life around how I could achieve my goals and plan accordingly. The negative part of this was that I have never been able to live in the present.

Apple Orchard Girl
Alex Frank / Spoon

As a college senior, I have realized how fast time has gone by. I have maintained good grades, participated in laboratory research, joined several clubs, and even helped establish a new one, and I have somewhat planned for what my life will be like once I graduate. But despite feeling accomplished in my time at UMass Amherst, I have realized that I never fully appreciated the seemingly mundane day-to-day activities and felt joy in my everyday life, and instead, I was constantly planning for the future. 

I am graduating a year early and one of the remaining three years of college was spent at home due to the Covid-19 pandemic, so it is fair to say that my college experience is not exactly following the average timeline. That being said, I still believe I could have done more to appreciate the time that I did have at UMass.

As such, with the time I have left before I graduate, I have made it my mission to embrace every opportunity and experience I have. Every walk to class, every slice of pizza at Antonio’s, and every visit with my friends will be fully appreciated. Rather than thinking about what I have to do next, I will be mentally chronicling as much of the next three months as I can. 

Living in the present is not something that I have had much experience with, but it is something that I deeply recognize the importance of. I know that if I continue to live by preparing for the future, I will fail to live my life in a way that embraces the seemingly mundane, but truly special moments. 

I will never get an opportunity to experience college again or live in an environment constantly surrounded by people my own age from a range of backgrounds. I now know that I need to reorient the way I approach life to fully make the most of it.

I am excited about my future, but I have plenty of time to get there. I know that I can still accomplish my goals and adequately plan for what comes next without missing any of the amazing things happening in my life right now. 

I am excited for right now!

Much love, Lucie.

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Lucie Daignault

U Mass Amherst '23

Lucie is a fifth-semester member at HerCampus and a senior psychology major at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Outside of HerCampus, Lucie is the vice president of the criminology club, a small group leader with CHAARG, and a volunteer with MASSPIRG. She loves writing and is excited to share her ideas and learn from her peers!