I don’t know if you all know this, but the original Hamlet “to be or not to be” quote is about suicide, and today I’m changing that association. This blog post is about living. You’ll see.
Well it’s a Friday night, the end of a four-day week, and what I hope has been a good day for you. This week has been a bit hectic in my life, classic quarter system week 7 with more midterms, projects, story reviews etc. The list goes on.
Maybe it’s because week 7 of my winter quarter is over and I’m realizing that I will only ever be able to say that one more time in my college career, but I’ve been thinking a lot about my path lately… All of our paths.
Not a single one of them has been linear. Let me explain why this matters so much.
Something about American culture, especially in my generation and below, makes us feel the need to compare ourselves and where we’re at with one another. You were either an early bird or a late bird, GATE or not GATE in elementary school. Then middle school and high school: you were in accelerated math/english or not, you were an AP student or not. We have grown up comparing ourselves to one another.
Even when it’s not really fair.
But now, when you get to age 20 or 21, most of our lives can’t be compared that easily. In college, we’re all in different majors and outside of college, everyone is doing something different.
Some people are married with kids, others are single and travelling the world—the rest of us are somewhere in between.
And somewhere between point A and… wherever we are now, someone told us that we’re supposed to be doing what all the other people are doing. But think about that. When we’re all doing something different, that makes “success” impossible. I guess what I’m saying is, with that attitude, we’ve been raised to fail.
Don’t you see that?
The way I’ve been living my college years so far, at least the first two, I did things because I thought that’s what I was supposed to do. From clubs to orientation, I joined things and became a part of my campus because I figured it was what I should do. If all my friends found themselves liking college by doing that, I thought it would make me happier here.
Long story short, it didn’t.
I felt out of touch with this campus, my schoolwork, and so much else that makes me who I am. After two years of doing things that I thought was good or right or better, I started listening to myself and trusting my gut.
But even more so, I began asking for help if I really wasn’t sure.
Then things started changing.
My relationships began to feel intentional, my goals started to feel more like mine, and my place on this campus started to feel a little more comfortable.
Because I stopped looking at where everyone else was and started to think about where I wanted to be. That’s it. The only person I ever need to be is a little bit better than the girl I was yesterday. Sometimes, there will be steps back and other times there will be four steps forward.
No matter what, this week I’ve learned to let myself just exist as I am and stop comparing so much. Maybe now I can figure out what my own success might actually look like.
Here’s to the weekend, I hope you are all doing alright. Happy Friday.