If you’re not satisfied with the way you’re living life, change it

Life is fragile and can end in an instant.

Campus and the community were reminded of this on Wednesday when Mimi Liu, a junior in ACES, was struck and killed by a recklessly driven vehicle on Lincoln Avenue by the McKinley Health Center.

For some reason, this accident felt more real than others. Perhaps it is because the situation was entirely out of the hands of Mimi and Spandana Mantravadi, a junior in Business, the other student injured in the accident.

Mimi and Spandana were not attempting to cross the street at a bad time — they were simply walking on the sidewalk when the truck came barreling at them.

It also happened in a high-traffic area. Cars are constantly driving on Lincoln Avenue. Students who live in Urbana cross Lincoln to get to campus. Lincoln Avenue Residence Hall sits right by where the accident occurred.

In other words, the accident did not go unseen.

Additionally, Mimi was a high-achieving student — one who had plans and a bright future ahead of her. At 20 years old, Mimi had just transferred into the College of ACES from the Division of General Studies. She was pursuing a career in agribusiness. She was a member of the Chinese Fine Arts Society in Chicago, the Asian American Student Association, the Minority Business Students Association and Illini Guides.

Mimi could have been any of us.

***

The suddenness of this accident should make us stop and think.

At 21 years old, I have yet to start a career in journalism. I have yet to buy my first car, my first house. I have yet to get married and start a family.

These are major events that, if they were not to occur, I would not be satisfied with my life. And ideally, everyone should have the chance to experience life events such as these.

But unfortunately, not all of us will.

So, looking at everything leading up to the point in life where you are right now, are you enjoying yourself? Are you happy with how you are living your life? If the answer is no, something needs to change. We only get one shot at life.

Of course, we can’t be happy with every one of our days. Maybe we are pulling all-nighters to prepare for three tests in the span of one week. Maybe we just had a fight with a friend. Or maybe we are dealing with depression. But in the grand scheme of things, are we making moves to make ourselves happy, and to be a person we would be proud of?

Be good to others. Go out of your way for friends and family. Smile at the random stranger you pass on the Quad. Volunteer to take someone’s shift at work. Don’t be so quick to criticize.

Be good to yourself. Exercise, eat Cocomero, go out on a Wednesday night. Find out what you love to do, and pursue it. Be positive.

***

As I live in an apartment building on the corner of Lincoln Avenue and Iowa Street, every day I bike past a makeshift memorial dedicated to Mimi and Spandana that rests at the base of a tree near McKinley Health Center. The memorial has been growing, currently with bouquets, candles and a poster that says, “Our thoughts and prayers are with you.” It is signed by members of the 4-H House Cooperative Sorority, with entries including, “I pray for Love and Strength for the family and friends of the Loved ones” and “You won’t be forgotten! Forever with us.”

Let’s not forget Mimi and the delicacy of life.

Kirsten is a junior in Media. She can be reached at [email protected]