What Peter Kassig Taught Me: Live It Up and Don't Take a Day for Granted
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Politics and Activism

What Peter Kassig Taught Me: Live It Up and Don't Take a Day for Granted

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What Peter Kassig Taught Me: Live It Up and Don't Take a Day for Granted
@OutFrontCNN

It was a cool July night, and I was touring Bloomington’s campus during my freshman orientation. I walked around with my group and saw the different sights of IU. We stopped at the Herman B Wells statue near the sample gates. There, we met up with the water polo coach for the women's team. Every tour had a different speaker, and ours just happened to be him. Because he was the water polo coach, I thought: Is this guy serious? I don’t give a s--- what he has to say.

He began speaking to us, and the more he talked, the more I started listening. He told us about his experiences at college, but one thing he said still resonates with me to this day. Right before he left for college, his father said to him: "Son, you’ve got four years until you move on into the real world, so live it up and don’t take a day for granted."

Fast forward to two and a half years later, and I’m a junior about to finish my second to last fall term of college. Like any other IU student will tell you, my time in Bloomington has flown by, and I’ve loved every second of it. Yet, I still find myself coming back to the advice that that coach gave me. The first part was easy. Who doesn’t live it up in college? Meeting new people, going to parties, rushing, finding out about yourself and so many other things I can’t even put into one sentence - I feel like I’ve lived up my time here. However, the second part didn’t make much sense to me until a couple days ago.  

Growing up, I used to attend Epworth United Methodist Church in Indianapolis with my family and I still do when I’m back home. There, I met many great people, one of which was Peter Kassig. Peter was a lot older than me, and as a little kid, I looked up to him a lot. Peter and his parents attended church regularly, and soon enough, he graduated from high school and joined the army. Years later, he eventually returned and stopped by Epworth. I remember seeing him, but before I knew it, he left again and was overseas doing humanitarian work. Eventually, I graduated as well and came to Bloomington. Every time I came back home and attended a service at Epworth, I would see Peter’s name at the end of the prayer concern list, and wonder where he was and what he was doing.

It wasn’t until recently that I heard a terrible truth. In 2013, while traveling through Syria, Peter had been abducted by ISIS forces and imprisoned for over a year. Early on the morning of Nov. 16, Peter was executed. Peter’s death was terribly tragic and heartbreaking, but it finally helped me understand the last part of what that coach told me. Each day we have isn’t guaranteed, and life changes in the blink of an eye, whether you’re ready for it or not. So call your family and tell them you love them. Go out of your way to talk with people or brighten someone’s day. But most of all, take that coach’s advice and live it up, because you don’t know what tomorrow will bring. My thoughts and prayers go out to Peter and his family. 

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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