A few months ago, I went to dinner with a special someone in my life. Per usual, I was chatting his ear off, verbally processing recent life events including the completion of my master’s program.

I explained that I didn’t feel like “student” was a key part of my identity in the past two years—school was just one tiny slice of my life and felt more like a thing I did than who I was as a person. And the label certainly didn’t account for everything else I was doing while I was in school.

Of course, he asked me, “Then who do you see yourself as in the world? What is your identity based on?”

That certainly quieted me down. His question tumbled around my head for the rest of our meal as we moved on to other topics.

Later that same evening, tucked under his arm, I heard his question echo in my mind once more and I sat up with an answer.

I want to be known for my great, big ideas. My creative problem-solving. For taking risks and refusing to let fear drive my life.

I want to be someone who is accountable for her actions and unafraid to admit to her shortcomings. I want to be someone who continues to grow and evolve and improve. No getting stuck in my ways at this tender age.

And, most of all, I want to be someone who is kind. The kind of person that smiles at strangers and goes out of her way to lend a helping hand. I want to be kind even if and when the world is unkind to me.

And, I think the rest is unimportant. Student. Young professional. Volunteer. Researcher. Board Member. Activist. Former cheerleader. Future CEO…

It’s time for the titles and labels for the things I do to fall away and the human (the who I am) underneath to shine through.

Got myself a notion, and one I know that you’ll understand; to set the world in motion, by reaching out for each other’s hand – I2I by Tevin Campbell