10 defining moments. 7 critical choices. 5 pivotal people. These are the three types of external factors you use to trace who you have become in this life, according to Dr. Phil.
I’ll never say I’m not much of a sap-artist. Because I am… and I also just made that word up. Why not? It’s a question I ask myself all the time. Quoting Dr. Phil may be sappy, but he speaks the truth. Making words up to describe myself is a part of what makes me, me.
“Seven Critical Choices: There are a surprisingly small number of choices that rise to the level of life-changing ones. Critical choices are those that have changed your life, positively or negatively, and are major factors in determining who and what you will become. They are the choices that have affected your life up to today, and have set you on a path.” –Dr. Phil.
Choosing to go to Indiana University over any other college in the world can be ranked as one of my seven critical choices that help me trace who I’ve become in this life. I’ll venture to say it’s been the most defining one so far.
The prestige that comes along with being an Indiana Hoosier is something that has me not only excited and proud, but honored to say I am a student at Indiana University. At my freshman induction ceremony in 2011, I made the Indiana Promise together with the class of 2015.
When I first heard the Indiana Promise, I didn’t understand the gravity of the statement, the legacy I would inherit, the responsibility I would assume, or the difference I could make with my time here on campus. To me, it was the first action of unity I shared with my new peers.
There are a lot of I’s in the Indiana Promise. As a freshman, IU seemed so big. But there are ways to make a big place seem small. IU was a new family that quickly became a new home. And as quickly as that transition took place, the “I” statements became “we” statements to me. Thinking of it in terms of community further influenced what the promise means in my life. The people you meet, the lessons you learn, the chances you take, the diversity you face- it’s all real and it all matters.
I promised that I will be ethical in my academic work. But this doesn’t mean a whole lot unless WE promise together that we will be ethical in OUR academic work. This includes everything from study-enhancement drugs to copying a simple homework page. When we take pride in our ethics with academic work, we take pride in Indiana University.
I promised that I will take personal responsibility for what I say and what I do. However, sometimes life isn’t that simple. To be realistic, it is human nature to pay attention to what other people are saying and doing around us. WE need to promise together that we will take personal responsibility for what WE say and what WE do. Sure, when I admit I’m the wrong and take responsibility for things I did or didn’t do, I rest better at night. But who doesn’t rest better when they know they are not alone- when others involved took responsibility as well. People respect you a lot more when you own up to your actions. Let’s respect each other and as a whole, promise to take responsibility for our words and actions.
I promised that I will respect the dignity of others, treating them with civility and understanding. For most students, Indiana University holds more diversity than where they came from and what they were used to their whole lives. It’s crucial that WE promise to respect the dignity of others, treating them with civility and understanding. Acts of tolerance and kindness are contagious. By them time your reach college age, it becomes not only contagious to interact this way, but vital to your overall concept as a person. You may get places in life without treating people with the respect, civility, and understanding that they are humanly entitled to- but I can promise you that you’ll do it with more enemies than you can handle and without the joy you feel when you do treat people with everything they deserve.
The Indiana Promise means more to me than the simple “I” statements that meet the eye. It is truly designed to be carried out in “we” statements with collaborative effort. Indiana University continues to define me every day. Along with the critical choices in life that shape who we are, the way we interact and follow through with our promises become a bi-product of just that. Our community is special; we are capable of accomplishing the wildest of dreams, while leave lasting impressions. Indiana University is home to the origins of greatness in which those journeys begin. Most importantly, we promise this together and fulfill that promise together as well.
Keep on Keepin' on.