Though I cannot speak for the rest of you, I also cannot believe that I am the only one starting to panic.
As I work through the second semester of my junior year, it is a little hard to believe that I have passed the college halfway point. My mind is starting to wander to the land of grad school applications, the LSAT, letters of recommendation and, more generally, what I am going to do once I graduate (knock on wood). This is not a fun place to wander to.
I understand why it is a necessity to think ahead about these things in order to prepare, but if one more person asks me, "What are you going to do when you're done?" I might just break down and crawl into a hole.
That question tends to make my heart palpitate and my palms sweat, but I think we can all agree that some people just have their stuff together. You know the ones: they're in every organization known to man, they make perfect grades and have a perfectly well laid-out plan for the next eight years of their life. They're the ones that you just know are going to get into an awesome grad school and find an equally awesome, high-paying job as soon as they graduate.
Speaking truthfully, I'm typically very envious of these people. As someone who consistently looks like a hot mess and usually feels overwhelmed by one task or another, I've always wondered what it would be like to have my life perfectly in order. Recently, however, I've been reevaluating this longstanding envy of mine.
I was reminded a while ago of how short and tragic life can be.
A boy that went to my high school was killed in an accident while on vacation in Austria, and while I did not know him personally, I vividly remember him and how he was one of the smartest kids at our school. His name was Seth, and based on what I read about him in the wake of this tragedy, he definitely had his life figured out in the way that I am so envious of. After graduating, he went to the University of Virginia and then finished his masters in structural engineering at the Imperial College of London.
At the ripe age of 23, Seth had a job working for an engineering company that was headquartered in Madrid. Awesome, right?
Again, I did not know Seth at all. I merely knew who he was and how intelligent everyone thought him to be, but I did not realize how well he lived until my Facebook feed was blowing up with stories about his life and pictures of him traveling the world. The common thing that each and every person said about him was that he had an unmatchable zest for life, adventure and travel.
I firmly believe that even if you don't know someone, their life can have a strong impact on you because Seth's story really made me stop and think about the way I live and what my priorities are.
It's so easy to become a slave to campus organizations, to extra-curricular activities and other things that are going to beef up our resumes. We tell ourselves this stuff is all for the cause, that we'll have time for fun once we've achieved our goals. But sometimes I wonder if I'm missing out on small things because I'm so worried about not having enough extras to put under my "experience" column.
Seth attained enormous achievements in his short 20 years, achievements that I can only dream about at this point. Working for an international company while traveling the globe, I think we can all agree, is a huge success. But I also think that living happily on the way to success is incredibly important.
Remember to enjoy the small things in life and to live with zest, because making great grades and being in the right organization by no means guarantees you another day on this earth.
Seth's story didn't inspire me because he was successful in the business world, it inspired me because he clearly knew how to have fun and live his life to the fullest while getting there.
Katie Dean is a junior in political science. She can be reached at email@example.com.