It seems like I have the conversation pretty regularly.
A student (usually a senior) will stop by my office with a tentative “Are you busy?” look, and we start talking…about classes, life, the world in general. Pretty soon it zeroes in on “I don’t feel like I’m getting anywhere.”
Since I have permanent residence in the land of “I’m doomed to a life of ‘average’,” I can easily identify, but I need the student to tell me what has brought on this latest case of despair.
Sometimes it’s a recent test score that, in the student’s eyes, should have been much higher. Sometimes it’s a feeling that he or she has sent out seemingly a bazillion resumes and has gotten zilch for a response. Sometimes it’s the realization that, in a few short months, the “real world” is going to be waiting impatiently.
Whatever the case, “success,” however it’s defined, keeps inching farther and farther away.
One of my self-assigned roles at Curry College, where I head the Communication Department’s Public Relations Concentration, is that of “cheerleader.” I absolutely believe in the capabilities of my student-friends.
I’ve wrestled with self-doubt pretty much all my life; I’ve been ready to just call it quits and curl up in a ball of self-pity. Thankfully, I’ve always been able to overcome the feeling and to move on.
Defining what “success” means for you as an individual is tough. And then there’s the challenge of determining if what you’ve achieved is “success” or if you’ve just “settled.”
I’ve known a lot of people ranging from childhood friends to current-day colleagues who, in my eyes, have “settled.” They’re doing well, no doubt. Financially comfortable. Personal life going very nicely. In my eyes, though…
But this is my opinion. And, thank goodness, I have never given any indication of how I feel. But I also so wish they would step out of that warm, comfortable blanket of “settled-ness” and show me the energy and enthusiasm that I know lives somewhere deep inside.
So, back to my student’s all-too-real concern.
First and foremost, I say…sometimes a smidge too energetically…do not give up. You’re just starting out on that amazing rollercoaster ride called “life,” and, believe me, my friend, you ain’t seen nuttin’ yet!
There will be times when your plans will go off on an orbit of their own, and all you can do is hang on and see what happens.
There will be times when it seems like everything you touch comes up a winner. Enjoy the feeling!
Whatever the case, believe in yourself. We all are put on this planet for a purpose…but defining that purpose and then working to make it come true requires determination and self-confidence. And it requires a healthy dose of bravery…taking a chance on a job offer…moving to a new city thousands of miles from home…committing to a lifelong relationship with someone from a completely different culture…
There are no guarantees in life. Life is what you make of it, and the pursuit of success is an uphill climb. But, trust me…it is so worth the effort!