A long-term goal of many is to have a career or lifestyle that allows them to positively affect the lives of thousands of people. I don’t consider myself to be one of these individuals. Through important experiences with friends and family, my travels around the world in the past decade, and the struggles I’ve overcome with the help of others, I have come to understand the value I find in fostering strong, personal relationships with a closely-knit community of individuals. These relationships have shaped me into the person I am today, and it is the primary reason I am pursuing a medical career in the future. When I die, I want to be remembered not by the masses, but by a very select group of individuals whose lives I greatly impacted.
While I strive to make people laugh and help those around me daily, I don’t just want to be remembered as someone who is comical or empathetic. I want to continue to build on relationships I have made now, years into the future. I want to be someone who was not just there for a person for a few weeks, but for years. Being a doctor would mean forming incredibly close relationships and creating lives that individuals can live with happiness and strength, well after mine comes to an end.
And if people also remember me as the guy who wore cool socks, never ate a bagel untoasted or played music too loud in the car… that’d be fine as well.
Death and dying is not something that we think about often. The speakers we had in class this week both talked about the importance of thinking about what we would like to have happen before we or our family members are put in the position of being forced to make those decisions. As far as the legacy I would like to leave, some of the values I would like people to associate with me would be trustworthy, patient, and empathetic. I think that these qualities are very important for a health care provider to have, and I would like to be known as a nurse who possessed those qualities. I also think that service is an important part of the legacy that I would like to leave. In high school, I volunteered a lot, and now that I am in college I would like to continue to give back to my community. A quote that I think goes along with this is by Maya Angelou and she says that “people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” This statement really sums up the kind of person and nurse that I hope to be.
Leaving a legacy is something thought differently depending on what side you are on. If you are the person who is dying or has died, things you do during your lifetime that make a difference might mean your legacy. While other times, leaving your legacy might mean who you leave your worldly assets to. If you are the person left behind after your loved one passes, the importance might not always be how much they worked but instead how much they loved and were loved. As health care providers, we will see our patients and their families talking about the legacy that they plan to leave and the families talk about the legacy that will leave or have left. Personally, I hope that we will all make an impact during our careers, whether it is through an important medical discovery to helping a patient and their family through a difficult situation. How we react to a patient or their families during stressful times might impact this view of their legacy, and at times they might be looking to us for reassurance or confirmation of what they think. I think knowing how we want to leave our own legacy might impact others around us. How do you think someone would view your legacy if you were telling them at a critical or end of life scenario?
Sitting down and writing out my legacy is a daunting task for me. I don’t yet fully understand my place in the world, or my mission in life, so how am I to know whether I want to be remembered for my cure of cancer or my solution for world peace? Just kidding (although those would be great). I do know that I want to be remembered more by people that know me than people that hear of me in a textbook. As students hoping to enter the medical field, we all hope to do the most good that we can, whether that means seeing the most patients that we can, researching new medicine as hard as we can, or saving as many lives as we can. And these are all great aspirations. But I believe that it is less important what I do and more important how I do it. When people think of me, I want them to use adverbs and adjectives, not verbs. I want to live a life marked by compassion. If there was something I hope to share with people, it would be the importance of empathy and genuine kindness. Understanding where someone is at and having a genuine desire to meet them where they are and help them out. What do you hope to be remembered for? Any particular career accomplishments you hope to achieve or societal changes you wish to see before you die?
Death is something that a lot of people fear. I think this is mostly because they feel they haven’t done enough while they lived here. While I do not necessarily fear death, I do fear not being remembered for doing something good in this world. My ultimate goal in life is to leave a lasting impression in the world, even if only one person if influenced by me. But I also would like to change something in the world around me.
I want to have a legacy something like that of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Not only did he make a difference for African Americans in our society, he spread the word of God while doing it. I would like to do something about health disparities among African Americans. That is why I am entering the field of public health. I especially want to work in Chicago and create a program that improves the overall quality of health for people who live in areas with poor healthcare services. I have a desire to be a civil rights activist also fighting for social equality.
In addition to this, I want to be able to spread the word of God. My religion is very important to me and when I am gone, the first thing I want people to say about me is that I lived my life for the glory of God. If I could talk about God and lead a movement as big as Martin Luther King did, that would be the best legacy I could have.
I have never really thought much about death or how I want to die. What is really important to me is how people view me after I’m gone. One of my biggest fears is to leave this world without making a positive impact on it. As long as something beneficial to society happens because of something I do, I will be more than content with my legacy. For me, making a lot of money and being successful is nice, but it really doesn’t mean much if it doesn’t contribute to moving things forward or making a positive impact. That is one of the biggest reasons pushing me towards the health care field. While a person working for a large business company may make a lot of money in his career, his legacy will ultimately be determined by how much money he makes the company. Doctors, nurses, and dentists, on the other hand, work towards helping and solving people’s problems. I think it would be the coolest thing ever to help save a person’s life. Even if it’s just one person, I can rest easy knowing that I was able to impact someone’s life to such a high and positive degree. For me a legacy like that tops anything else.
What do you want to be remembered for and how much importance do you put into having a lasting legacy?
Above are pictures of two men. Both are well known in the medical field. One of them is remembered for giving penicillin, the product of his 13 years of research, to the world for free, saving millions of lives. The other is remembered for raising the price of Daraprim by 41 times over night, making it no longer affordable for those without insurance. In a sense, both of them are considered accomplished in their field. But would you rather be remembered as a humble benefactor of humanity or as a rich douchebag who exploit people in the legal gray zone?
I’ve always felt strongly about having a greater purpose in life. A goal that is bigger than myself and my family and friends. Some people want to be remembered for making a lot of money and living extravagant lives. I want to be remembered as someone who stood for a right cause, as someone who tried to make the lives of others better. Once you make enough fortunate that more money no longer improves the quality of your life, you can either —- use that money to make more money or spend your money on meaningful purposes such as creating employment and promoting education and research. And here’s where I’d like to have as my legacy.
Death is something that is inevitable. It is something that all of us have to face and something all of us have to go through. Whatever comes after death is unknown to us although most of us may have some ideas. The only thing that we know for certain is our impact on the world and how people remember us. How we want people to remember us differs greatly from person to person.
Personally, I want to be remembered as someone who creates a positive, sustainable impact on the world and possibly more than just our world…? I believe that innovation is the way to go about creating this positive impact. I feel this would be the best way to be remembered because it won’t just be the next generation who remembers you, but since it is sustainable, your legacy will be sustained for generations.
I hope to be remembered by many people but not for just being rich and famous.
I I do not have a specific thing that I want to be remembered for; I’m still figuring that part out, partly through HSSP!
I don’t have something that I only want my family to remember me though.
How would you want to be remembered?
When I die, I hope that the life I was able to live was a life of meaning. This is partially reflected on the people whom I had positively influenced. I understand that the things I said and did and accomplished will soon be drowned in time, but I hope that I will be remembered for how I made the people I encountered in my life feel, no matter they are a short acquaintance, or a close confidant, or anything in between. Were they built up through their interactions with me or did I put them down. I hope the answer to that is I made them feel loved, cared for, empowered, encouraged. The relationships I created, sustained, and restored; at the end of the day, that is what makes me happy and that is what people are going to remember when they think of me. I hope that some of the values I hold true throughout my life, values such as discipline, tenacity, faith, boldness, will be carried down to the people who sees those embodied in me, that somehow, they can learn from the places I did well on as well as the places I failed at, both are equally important, and they will be able to benefit in some way.
I understand that death can come at any moment whether we our at terms with it or not. Therefore, when I die I don’t have to be known by a numerous amount of people I may never meet, but rather I want to be known as a joyous person to the people I spend the most time with. I want my life impacts on those who mean the most to me. I believe once a person determine who they are truly meant to be and fully understand their purpose in this world they can decide what they want their legacy to be. So as I continue to grow and my values continue to expand, I will truly be able to articulate what I want my legacy to be.
However, until then, I want people to know that I was an adventurous person that loved to laugh and was searching for her real purpose in the world and once I figure it out I will embody it to the best of my ability. I want to die knowing that I was someone I would want to look up to.