“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

I'll share with you a dirty little secret: all these wonderful opportunities... scare the heck out of me...!

When I was growing up, my parents told me I could do anything I set my mind to – yet I was still not allowed to bike past the stop sign. But now – thanks to a couple solid years in the Ivy League - I actually can do anything, go anywhere, chase any dream.

What should one do when one can do anything? The possibilities are positively overwhelming... nay, terrifying.

My goal is to embrace that fear and leverage it into responsibility. I will improve my community. I will refuse to be intellectually satiated. I will see the world – not just look, but see. I will choose the harder right rather than the easier wrong. I will embrace the opportunities I never truly believed I would have.

Yet, at my very core I will enjoy the values that lie between a home and a stop sign. I'll still call my grandmas, bake banana bread, sleep with stuffed animals, dance in front of the mirror, decorate with sprinkles, giggle without inhibition, enjoy rainy days, plant flowers, and do my own laundry. I will love for what's real. I will make mistakes and learn from them.

And I will strive to raise my children on a street with a stop sign – so that they, too, understand the responsibility that accompanies privilege.

— Missy Blakeley