“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
In high school, I wrote myself a letter not to be opened for five years. It ended with the above list of dreams for future Tara. When I rediscovered the
letter, the person who wrote it felt so far away, and yet I have carried her with
me every day.
As the second-oldest child adopted into a multiracial family of nine in small-town Oklahoma, I almost didn’t go to college. We couldn’t afford it. Besides, I
didn’t know anyone who had finished college.
My parents pushed me to consider college. My father stayed up at night proofreading the 30+ scholarship applications I submitted. Attending the University of Oklahoma changed my world view and sense of self to the point where those three life goals felt so foreign to me.
Don’t get me wrong – I would have made one hell of a receptionist, but it would have been because I didn’t know I had other options.
Finding that letter showed me how much high school Tara underestimated me and how lucky I am that I didn’t accomplish my goals.
I will continue to see the beauty in not getting what I want.
I will continue to surprise the girl who wrote that letter.
— Tara Hagan
Each year we ask our classmates a straightforward, simple question taken from the lines of a poem by Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Mary Oliver.
We share with you intimate and candid responses to this question, "Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?"
Concept and photography:
Tony Deifell, MBA '02
More Portrait Project