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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UT Chattanooga chapter.

Who are you?

I would venture to say that you would first answer with what your degree is or what your profession is. How different an answer this is to what you would have said when you were a child. When you were little and someone asked you who you were, you might answer: I am Emily. I am kind, I am strong, I am funny, I am an artist, I am clever… You would list off things that made you, you because you viewed yourself as a multidimensional person. Isn’t it crazy to see how much we digress as we get older? We shrink ourselves and our minds to fit through one door, desperately hoping that the door even opens.

Who are you?

Are you just one thing? Are you not a son or a daughter? Are you not a musician or painter? Are you an athlete or poet? Are you just what you do for a pay check? I think that we live in a society where that really is all we are allowed to be. You get a few months off from your profession to go have a baby. You are not a mother to your company; you are an expense that will have to be paid because that is the way the law works. You get “let go” because a younger person can do your job faster. You aren’t a loyal member of a working family that has dedicated 40 years to your company. You are an old cog that can be replaced. You wake up early to get to work. You stay there all day. You come home for a few hours, eat, maybe watch a little tv, and then you go to sleep to do it all over again.

Who are you?

When you are gone, and someone asks, who was this person, what do you want the answer to be? I personally don’t want the answer to be my job title. I want someone to be able to say that I was a mover and a shaker, that I did something worthwhile with my life. I want someone to be able to say that I was a true friend, that I was a mother and wife that loved my family deeply. I want someone to say that I was someone who listened, that I was someone who walked my own path in life with a healthy disregard for the typical. I want my name to mean something more than a title.

All this being said, unfortunately we don’t live in a perfect world. You have to make a living, which means you have to work. However, I urge you to make your life about something more than your 9 to 5. Make sure that those who know you have something worthwhile to say about who you were. Choose an education that will allow you to live while making a living that you can find value in. You only have this one chance, so make sure you do it right.

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Emily Thornton

UT Chattanooga

I am a junior at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga majoring in Economics, Psychology, and Literature. I am the founding president of UTC's chapter of Alpha Gamma Delta, an active writer, an avid reader, and an outdoor enthusiasts. I spend my days running from class, to meeting, to class, to work, while squeezing in time for friends, family, and the occasional hour of sleep, while also being a proud cat mother to a kitten named Merlin. I love my hectic life, and am always ready for a new challenge!