What do you want your legacy to be?

Every semester, the exec board of the Residence Hall Association (where I’m the secretary) meets to take a look at its goals for the upcoming semester. This time, we met in the library on Elliott Hall‘s fourth floor and set about to work getting to know each other and forming the relationships we’ll need to accomplish our goals for the semester ahead.

As the day went on, we talked about our positions in RHA and what we expect out of each other for the semester ahead. RHA does a lot of cool things aimed at students in the residence halls, like their “Rock the Halls” week-long event at the beginning of the semester. We talked about our upcoming Fire & Ice Dance and touched on the annual end-of-year Hall Wars event. Then things got a little heavy when we started reflecting on the semester we had just left behind.

With that reflection time, we were told to journal for fifteen minutes and had a set of prompts. No one would ever know what we wrote, but the question that I didn’t write anything on was the one that stuck with me for the rest of the day.

What do you want your legacy to be?

If you’re out there in high school now, you’re thinking about finishing high school and moving on to bigger and better things. Yeah, college is just around the corner, but think about what you’re leaving behind, too. When you walk out of those doors, you’ll leave an impression. You’ll have a legacy, even if your legacy is that you did nothing at all.

I’m thinking about my semester ahead and how I want to make that different. I want to make Box City, my building’s food drive and homelessness awareness event, the best it can be so that when I’m gone, people still have it strong in their memories to continue on past me. I want to lead by example so that when I’m no longer the president of a hall council or the secretary of a campus organization, someone else will really want to step up and fill in those shoes.

Maybe I’ve used this blog a lot to wax philosophic about the end of my undergraduate experience, but there’s a nice parallel between me and all of you high school seniors out there. Let’s embrace the future without neglecting the present.

Back to the RHA retreat, then, eh? Toward the middle-end of the afternoon, the RHA adviser pulled out a bag of craft material. From it, she produced a long, glass vase and a box of colored sand. She had everyone take a bag of sand and began to pass around the vase. When you pour yourself into something, she said, you become a part of that larger object. When your sand mixes with another person’s sand, you can’t separate it. You’re mixed together, and that’s that. Together, those of us working and investing ourselves in RHA to make our legacy the strongest it can possibly be mixed our sand layer by layer.

This was the result.

My yellow sand formed layer after layer with the others in the group and produced something really cool.

If that’s my legacy across all of my involvement on campus, across my groups of friends and the experiences that we all share together…if we can make a mosaic of memories that remains in place long after I cross that stage on the first weekend in May, well, then that’s a legacy I’m more than okay with having.

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