When I die, remember me by…

When I die, remember me by…

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?

19 thoughts on “When I die, remember me by…

  1. As a person, I hope to be remembered as someone who was able to teach people something that bettered their lives in some way.

    As a potential dentist in the future, I hope to give my patients the best experience I can while they are in the chair. Because I had such a great experience with my dentist, hearing stories of people’s bad experiences break my heart. In fact, I believe that there is a lot of fear connected to dentistry. Therefore, I hope to help eradicate this fear people have of the dentist and dental work one patient at a time.

  2. Lauren, I think you have a very interesting stance on the legacy you’d like to leave. Most people dream of the fame that comes as a result of the outstanding things that they’ve done in their lives. They want the recognition to show that all their hard work and actions were worthwhile. However, you want to be remembered for the emotion and passion you put into your work and life, and I find that very admirable. I, too, want to leave a legacy of kindness, genuineness, and passion. No matter what I do, even if I don’t do these big, amazing things, I just want to be recognized for the emotion I put into my work. When someone becomes a doctor, I feel that if they don’t have a genuine care for other people, then that isn’t the job for them. So, when I become a child psychiatrist, I want the children that I see everyday to know that I care about each and everyone of them. I want them to see my passion for mental health in the way I treat and interact with them. If I can do that, I will live a fulfilled life.

  3. Your passage about wanting to be remembered by people that know you versus people who have only heard of you really resonated with me. Personally I am not one to seek fame. However, I also want to impact people in a positive way, thus I am pursuing a career in the health field. I think there is immense value in helping others, and it doesn’t have to be in ways like finding the cure for cancer or making world peace. I believe that every act no matter how small or seemingly insignificant can have a positive or negative impact on a person. I just want to look back on my life and know that I have done all I can to make as many people as possible happier and healthier.

  4. I would first like to say that I think it is inspiring of Lauren to say she is more focused on how she achieves as opposed to what she achieves. I also want to first be remembered as the kind of person I am, then as what I have done. I want to be a compassionate doctor that patients feel they can be open with. I aspire to be a role model for “underdogs” such as women of color and children with mental disabilities. The medical field is highly competitive and I think it is natural for people to be judged and underestimated. My most important career accomplishment I hope to make is to become and orthopedic or cardiothoracic surgeon. I hope I can change the social stigma against people with mental disabilities. I plan on creating a mentoring organization for teens with Asperger’s Syndrome in order to bring awareness to the disability as well as allowing such children to follow through with any ambitions they may have.

  5. I can really relate about the importance of empathy. Personally, I would want to be remembered for the person I am. My passion is the most important about me where I aspire to be a Neurosurgeon. Not only is that my long term goal, but I want to gain my patient’s trust because that is something that can’t be earned easily. When it is earned, it makes all the studying and harsh nights worth it.
    Also, I want to be remembered for my passion in the brain, nervous system, and finding another solution for hydrocephalus that way children would not have to have a shunt. I want to conduct research until I find the solution to another method to hydrocephalus. It will be a long road, but dedication, determination is what I want people to remember me for.

  6. I relate a lot to what you said about wanting to be remembered on how you accomplished your goals as opposed to what you actually accomplished. This way, people can see that someone who’s compassionate, empathetic, etc. is able to lead an accomplished life. Personally, I want to be remembered as someone who was resilient. I’ve had to endure many challenges as someone who originally came from Iraq. But I never gave up hope that
    I will persevere in the end. I want this resilient trait to lead me into making significant advances in the world of genetic research and clinical genetics.

  7. I’m don’t particularly care if I am “remembered” in all honesty. All I desire is the ability to lead a peaceful life, and the opportunity to help as others do the same. In my eyes, after I’m dead I’m dead, so I like to focus on the immediate gratification of helping others rather than things like legacy. I hope to see more cultural empathy in our society’s future. Many of the problems I often see are due to a lack of empathy, but hopefully it will be easier to think empathetically in an uber globalized world.

  8. I really enjoyed reading your blog, Lauren!! I have never been very into fame and fortune, but at the same time, I’ve never really thought about being remembered. I definitely agree that I would rather be remembered more by people that know me rather than people that hear of me in a textbook. Thinking about it, I just want to do good in the world, regardless of the scale I do it in. I want to die satisfied that I lived a life led by compassion, honesty, and purpose. If along the way I help people positively, that would be pretty amazing too.

  9. Although I think it is strange for people as young as we are to think about our legacy when the majority of us don’t even know what we want to do for a career yet. With that said, I do know that I want to make a positive, memorable difference in someone else’s life regardless of what I choose to do. If that is in terms of medicine, I want to be able to save someone or put them on the right path for a healthy lifestyle. Teaching can also be a way for me to achieve my “goal” of making a difference in someone’s life. I know that I recognize and appreciate my teachers for everything that they have done for me and hope that someone will do the same to me for whatever I choose to do in my life.

  10. As a late teenager admitted to the University of Michigan, I know I’m not alone when I say that sometimes I feel lost when one asks me what I want my legacy to be. I think it’s important to stop and think about the answer to this question, but every time I try to think of a definitive answer I find myself falling short, becoming too general and cliché. Everyone wants to be happy, everyone wants to love and be loved, and everyone wants to make a positive difference in other people’s lives (whether it be big or small). On good days I find laughter among those I care for, and on the occasional lesser days I wonder more about who I am and if I’ll ever find my own passion and someone I can love indefinitely. Although these days of drear are few, the question still remains of what my passion truly is. I’ve found solace in music, in summer nights, and among friends. But what is it that makes me love these things, and is there something I can do to create a passion out of them all? For now my legacy, love, and passion remain abstract, but if nothing else I’m confident that coming to UMich has been a good first step in the right direction.

  11. First of all, your comment on wanting to be described by using “adverbs and adjectives, not verbs” was a very clever way of putting it and I couldn’t agree more. I hope to be remembered not by what I have done but what I have allowed others to do. In other words, I want to make a impact on the future generations, however that may be. I want to make a difference in the life of one person or many by making them realize that they are capable of doing whatever they set their minds to.

    I think the greatest gift is being able to help someone–mentally, physically, or socially. As a (hopefully) future doctor I want to be remembered by all the patients, educators, and professionals as someone who truly cared in making a change for the better. Making a difference in the life of one person is equally as great as creating a global change because to that one person you may have just changed their whole world.

  12. I really like that you say you want to be remembered by adjectives and adverbs, not nouns. I feel that exact same way. I want people to describe my character, not my actions. I could care less if I am remembered for my accomplishments (or failures lol). I want people to remember me as a happy person. I want to be remembered as the girl who was always smiling. I want to be remembered as a friend, not just a mere an acquaintance. I want those who know me to describe how I made them feel rather than what I did (or did not do) for them. I hope the adjectives and adverbs people use to describe me are positive and meaningful because only then will I be truly pleased with how I lived my life and my legacy is complete

  13. When I die I hope to be remembered by the people I personally affected rather than someone reading about me in a textbook like you. I hope people will remember me by my character and the kind of person I was rather than something that I accomplished (if that actually happens). I hope to be remembered as the person that was compassionate and helped people; the person that was a great friend. I think these aspects touch base more on how I live my life rather than what I do in my lifetime. Although it would be amazing to accomplish something that would help a lot of people or advance life for future generations, being known as a good person would be just as fulfilling. As for career accomplishments, I hope to help as many people as I can in the best possible way. Although this will definitely be a difficult feat, it something worth striving for and will motivate me when something goes wrong.

  14. I think you described it perfectly when you said you wanted to be remembered with adverbs and adjectives, rather than words. That reminds me of the quote “People may forget the things you do, but they’ll never forget how you made them feel.” Personally, I want to be remembered for making people feel like what they’re saying is heard and for making them feel like their thoughts, ideas, and concerns matter. I want people to remember me as a good, kind friend. I think that the way you want to remembered is directly dependent on the values that are most important to you; for example, if working hard is an important value to you, then you may want to be remembered as successful. For career accomplishments, I hope to help the most amount of people in as meaningful of a way as I possibly can, as I’m sure most people going into the health field do.

  15. I really think that you did a great job of illustrating how a lot of eighteen/ nineteen-year-olds feel when thinking about what they want to be remembered by. A lot of us really do not know. As cool as being put in a text book for a breakthrough medical treatment would be, I also think I that I would rather be remember by patients for being a genuine and kind doctor. Helping a lot of patients is amazing, but if I could choose between that and helping a few patients and making a bigger positive impact on the few patients, I would choose the fewer patients. As future health care professionals, I hope that we all want to be remembered for our compassion. As far as your questions go, I really do not have any particular accomplishments I want to be remembered for. I want to be remembered for being a great doctor that treated all of his patients with the care they deserve, and if somewhere along the way I discover/ accomplish something extra that would be cool too. Also, I hope that by the time I die, health disparities are not as prevalent as they are today.

  16. Talking about how we want to be remembered is a weird concept because my own death is something that I have never really thought about. It would be nice obviously to change the world in a drastic way and somehow make the world a better place with my direct impact, but realistically I cannot do more than work as hard as I can and hope I accomplish that. I want to remembered not by all the things that I have done, but the person that I am. When people remember me after I pass, I want them to be able to chuckle at the memories they have of me and feel the lasting impression of my embrace. I do not want people to spit facts about my accomplishments, I want people to be able to tell intimate stories about how I helped them in a direct way and speak of my compassion.

  17. Lauren, I really liked your perspective on legacy. Your focus on the importance of how our lives are lived rather than what accomplishments we pack into them is very inspiring to me. I especially liked your comment “When people think of me, I want them to use adverbs and adjectives, not verbs.” Right now it feels like there is so much pressure to engage in student organizations and volunteer any free time, etc. just so your resume and cover letter look good. That being said, there is absolutely nothing wrong with any of those things, we just need to consider why we are doing and make sure they are truly worth doing.

  18. “When people think of me, I want them to use adverbs and adjectives, not verbs” is my favorite quote from this blog. Personally, I want to be remembered as a person who lived life to the fullest. It is the quality and not the quantity of life that matters to me. I want to pursue the dreams and goals that I have in life. I want to find my purpose and be remembered as a person who lived with a purpose. I want to find happiness and be seen as someone who did what she loved instead of what was necessary for her to achieve recognition or fame.

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