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Sunday, April 21, 2024

Your purpose in life will constantly change, summarizing it isn't easy

I am supposed to write about my purpose. That is an odd task, at least in my opinion, to reduce my purpose to one or two single-spaced pages. This implies a multitude of things: one, that I do have a purpose and, two, my purpose is applicable to the exact program and exact situation so I could sum it all up in one or two single-spaced pages.

Well, let’s begin my purpose statement.

My purpose is to further my study of literature, focusing particularly on the comparison of the Romantic Gothic and Naturalism movements of the 19th century, focusing on the portrayal of women in these periods and how they have evolved.

My purpose is to further my writing prowess, to learn how to craft a story, to take these years of sitting down and creating characters and sentences from thin air and use them to create something, anything, that can really dig into people.

My purpose is to further my career in (insert specified industry) because I am a hard worker. I can do anything as long as I put my mind to it (a sentence I am sure you’ve read over and over). I assure you, I am different. I can do anything so long as I am passionate about it, so long as it lights a spark in me, etc.

My purpose as a child was to climb up to my treehouse with a collection of “Calvin and Hobbes” comics tucked under my arm, not caring that the branches made me itchy and not knowing in two years the tree would be struck by lightning. My purpose was a sticky mouth of chocolate ice cream I never learned to eat neatly and scabs on my legs from mosquito bites I never learned to stop picking.

My purpose as a teenager was to go to swim meets, racing to make my parents proud, even though I did not really care (I said I did not care, but I cried when I lost). The smell of chlorine still makes my muscles ache. My purpose was piano keys and oboe music, Advanced Placement Biology flashcards and Science Olympiad T-shirts. My purpose was homecoming dates and prom drama. My purpose was getting into Yale University. I didn’t get into Yale.

My purpose was finding a purpose. I spent a long time on this one. They tell you college is the time to do this, the time to figure out who you are and what you want. I thought I knew it once. I thought I knew it at all these separate moments of my life. This is who I am, I once thought, I twice thought, I thought all those times. This is my purpose, I know it for sure. I was wrong.

Maybe I was not. My purpose has changed. It will change. It is changing.

My purpose is to be a good daughter, a good sister, a good friend and a good partner. My purpose is to leave a mark on this world that heals it. My purpose, in the end, is to have people smile fondly when they hear my name and think of someone who was not only a great person (and hopefully a great writer), but a good one.

Petrana Radulovic is a UF English and computer science (super) senior. Her column appears on Fridays.

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