It’s a very difficult thing, to define one’s self on a piece of paper. Can anyone, through one example, reveal his essence? Whatever words I can grasp will never have the richness of the emotion they are meant to convey. On the page, my words look hollow and inadequate and the words do not hold the intensity of the actual feelings. How can I tell what defines and inspires me in five hundred words or less when it has taken me every breath of the last eighteen years to even begin to ask myself the same question? Well, challenge accepted!

I learned in biology that I’m composed of 7 × 10^27 atoms, but that number didn’t mean anything to me after I read the poem “The Dash”. The poem is about the dash between the date of birth and the date of death on a gravestone. The dash represents people’s lives, and what they did in their lifetime. Alton Maiden wrote, “People may forget your birth and death, but they will never forget your dash.” The words struck home deep down in my heart. I could feel what the writer was communicating.

I have always tried to do the right thing, and give my best in whatever I am doing. When I’m coding I think about the dash. I always give 110 percent to make my clients and myself better. In the long run, I don’t want to be remembered as an outstanding programmer, but as a hard worker who never gave up.

After high school and looking at where to spend the next four years of my life, I want to make sure I continue filling my dash. The satisfaction after overcoming challenges inspires me to keep working my hardest. I hope to be better at forging genuine relationships and leveraging my network to start my initiatives. 

My dash is something that I hold close to my heart because I know that it is the only thing I will care about in the end. It won’t matter how many lines of code I wrote, or the grade point average I achieved. The experiences I’ve had in this life and what I got out of them are what matters. I know that as long as I put forth my best effort in whatever I am doing, the dash will take care of itself.