Edit desk: Carpe diem

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Madison Hite

My dad smiled as he gripped my small baby blue backpack just before I bounced out of the car and waddled into my middle school.

“Hey. What do you say?”

I groaned and turned. I had to look him in the eye.

“Carpe Diem,” I said. “No fear, no meanness, no envy. Carpe Diem.”

I kissed him on the cheek and ran after my friends. I always thought those words would make me late, but they have changed my life.

Seizing the day is something we hear a lot. It could be on a poster hanging above your bed, on a sign in a store window or maybe it’s your dad making you say it before school.

But do you do it?

It is hard to say what defines seizing the day. It could be getting an A on your exam, holding the door for someone or making a new friend. Seizing the day can be a million different things for one person or one thing for a million people. But to do it, you have to be aware of it. This is why I wake up every morning and ask myself what I will do to accomplish something.

Of course, there are those days where I dread getting out of bed, or I’m in a bad mood for no reason. Everyone has those days, but it is important to make those days count too.

As I’ll soon be entering my second semester in my junior year of college, I’m starting to realize that my days at Lehigh are dwindling. Before I know it, I am going to be thrown into the “real world” and have a real job working with real people.

When I look back on my days here at Lehigh I do not want to ask myself “did I make it count?” or “why didn’t I do that?”

Seizing the day is not about success. It is about fulfillment. This is partly why I am a journalism and theatre major at an engineering school. I could be majoring in accounting, finance or marketing. I could have all my classes with my friends and doing what “I was supposed to do.”

But I chose something that I love.

I would have never been exposed to a whole side of Lehigh if I didn’t decide to follow the path I am on. I would have never made the friends I have or learned from my professors and my experiences. Some people will never get to learn this lesson. So next time you sacrifice something you think might make you successful for something you know will make you happier, think. Happiness is not defined by success.  

Are you really living if you aren’t happy?  

Sometimes I wonder where I would be in my life if my dad did not instill those two words in my head at such a young age. Where I would be if I did not call him my first year and ask him whether or not I should be in the business school? Where I would be if I did not live by these two words every single day?

I’m not saying that you can’t love accounting or finance. I’m simply saying don’t mask your own happiness with what you think is.

I’ve learned that many people go through life and do not allow themselves the freedom to make mistakes and the forgiveness needed to move on from personal failure. I have discovered that this freedom and this forgiveness are needed for personal growth, which is essential for happiness.

So make these days count because you do not know how many are left until they are swept out from underneath you. Life is long, but it can be short if you let it. What are you doing to make it count? Carpe Diem. Seize the day.

Madison Hite, ’20, is the deputy sports editor for The Brown and White. She can be reached at [email protected]

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