Several months ago, my pastor preached a sermon entitled, “How To Leave Well.” That was months before I made a life-changing decision to go away to college. Months before I could even fathom it’d even remotely apply to me. But now, months later, I am preparing to go a thousand miles away, while reflecting on the kind of legacy I’ll leave behind.
How will people remember you? Are you going out with a bang or just a fizzle?
I’m used to being forgotten. Imagine the awkward girl with her nose constantly in a book and you’ve got me. No one remembers that girl. It used to bother me. Now, however, I realize that no matter how insignificant I thought I was, there was always at least one person I influenced. I don’t need everyone to remember me, but I can make a difference in my small circle. With that knowledge, I decided to make the most of what little sphere of influence I have.
So here’s what I’m doing to turn my fizzle into the bang heard around the world.
1. Make amends.
Now read this carefully. I’m not saying seek out that kid you skipped in the lunch line in first grade (well, not unless it really weighs on your heart). Let the people who mean(t) something to you know that they mean(t) something. When I go away to college, I don’t want to leave any unfinished business. This is important. You never know where you may cross paths again and just what could happen if you do. My goal is to leave a warm impact on the lives of those around me.
2. Keep your friends.
By now, after being done with high school, we should all have some idea what a fake friend is (i.e., moochers, the ones that only show up for dinnertime). A real friend is not as common in high school. Make an effort to keep all your real friends. Set up a routine to make sure your friendship doesn’t fade away. FaceTime, Skype or call them once a week to show them that you care about their lives. Write letters. College may be hectic, but in the midst of the stress, parties and more stress, you can still find time for the people you care about. Also, it’s better to have someone to talk to when you’re on the verge of pulling your hair out.
3. Know yourself and know your worth.
This one may seem like it has just been stuck in the article to have a third point, but it is actually the most essential in this list and, to me, life in general. Oscar Wilde once said, “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” No one likes fake people. It’s OK to stand out. The more genuine and in touch you are with yourself, the more people will like you.
WARNING: I’m not saying your goal is for people to like you. Your worth is not determined by how many people like you, but how sincerely you live your life.
There is a certain warmth that comes from people who truly know themselves and live life by their own convictions. This is important not only in going out with a bang, but also making that bang carry over into college. Knowing and loving yourself will set you up for the perfect transition. Not only will you have the old friends you've been keeping in touch with, but you'll be surrounded by cool new friends who love and respect you for who you are. I started off with a fizzle, then with a bang, but I’m sure this is what sets apart the Hiroshima-sized bangs from the fireworks.
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