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Remember the past, live in the present

Remember when we were kids in elementary school, talking and laughing with friends on the playground during recess and just starting to learn what subjects in school we liked and which ones we despised with a passion?

Making friends and determining what we liked and didn’t like seemed to be simplistic back then, but as we got through high school and eventually moved on to college, the bar was raised, and everything seemed to get 10 times more complicated.

Have you ever wondered why you choose certain people to befriend or why you prefer to keep yourself busy with some pastimes and not others? It has something to do with this wonderful thing we call the past.

Some people want nothing more than to forget their pasts, and they view college as a perfect opportunity to start over with new friends, studies and hobbies.

But, shockingly, we can actually learn about ourselves and make choices for our future based on the experiences and events from our past.

When I was in fourth grade, I was exposed to the narrative style of writing, and I immediately fell in love with it. That realization stuck with me and influenced me to write every day and read more until I finally decided that I wanted to do this forever and become an author.

Picking a major was easy for me once that time of high school came, and I’ve been able to make lifelong friends through the years who understand my dedication and devotion to writing and literature and who even share some of the same interests as me.

Along with the passion I had for writing came the motivation to join clubs in high school and submit works to contests, a few of which I ended up placing first in. I joined my high school newspaper and helped grow my writing there, even though it’s a different style than what I normally do.

In this sense, life reminds me of a giant game of connect the dots.

Writing inspired me to join my high school’s newspaper and enter contests, which in turn motivated me to seek out the newspaper table during my college orientation. And now, here I am.

Celebrities also use their pasts to impact and set a pathway for their futures.

Video blogger Bethany Mota and mixed martial artist Paige VanZant were both bullied in school, but both have used that experience to shape their futures.

Mota creates videos about fashion and style, but when she went on “Dancing with the Stars” in 2014, she shared her bullying story and dedicated a dance to the experience.

During National Bullying Prevention Month in October of 2015, Mota also gave anti-bullying talks.

VanZant was inspired to study mixed martial arts as a result of being bullied. Now, VanZant is a champion fighter for the Women’s Strawweight Division of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

All that being said, it’s important that we don’t live in the past though. Yes, our pasts do influence our futures and guide us in our decision-making, but we shouldn’t get hung up in our past mistakes and in reliving our old memories.

Life is all about learning new things, meeting new people and making new memories. We can’t do that if we insist on staying in the past.

As college kids, that whole concept of moving on from the past can either be really easy or really hard.

Some of us may be looking forward to going through life one day at a time with no idea what’s going to happen next, while others aren’t comfortable with change and seek the comfort of their past lives before they moved on to college.

Whichever type you are, it’s important to remember that your past does not define who you are.

Sure, you may be remembered for specific roles and actions you took in the past, and it does contribute to your personality and your interests, but it doesn’t define you as a person.

While the past may impact your future and teach you more about yourself overall, it is essentially a collection of memories, people, events and mistakes that make you the person you are, but it’s not a permanent label of who you will always be.

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