I used to be that girl that everybody asked when the homework was due. I helped everyone study and I made straight A's. I never went to parties and didn't do much outside of work and school. I had one goal in my head: get a good job. Teachers, parents, and college ads have been drilling this idea of being a perfect person in my head since I was probably 11 that I need to start thinking of my future. Planning for success as early as possible is the only way to get what you want in life. But is that really a way to live?

I absolutely hated middle school and it only went downhill from there in high school. I let my childhood and what some would consider my "golden years" slip through my fingers because I was so obsessed with this idea of being perfect in every way possible so that I could achieve all my goals. I had my life planned out. Step one: get into my dream college. Step two: get into medical school. Step three: open my own practice. Step four: get married and have kids. And that was it. I guess step five was grow old and die?

Despite all my efforts, I failed step one. My dream school was Clemson University to which I was rejected. I was absolutely crushed because I had spent all these years breaking my back to check off these steps on this, to be quite frank, dumb list I had made for my life. Looking back on this now; however, I couldn't be happier that I failed.

Mississippi State has been one of the best experiences of my life. I have met amazing people, tried new things, and become a different person. I'm not trying to sell State to anybody, I'm just trying to say that nobody should be so obsessed with achieving some ideal persona that they don't even really want. I have become interested in things I never knew in a million years I would try. I am actually enjoying my life now.

I'm not saying just go flunk all your classes, get drunk, and party all the time, but just figure out what you truly want in your life. Plan for the future but don't get too caught up in the details. And when something doesn't work out the way you want it to, it's not meant to be. Find a new, better path. Try to focus on the important people in your life now, rather than the ones you imagine in your life in the future.

Go out there, have some fun, and then get back to work. Don't stress yourself out over some idea that you have to check off marks on an imaginary list because I wasted half of my life doing that. Believe me, it's not fun.