As a student, that is a word that has been drilled into my brain. Achieve good grades so that you can get good scholarships. Achieve leadership positions in clubs so that you can put them on your resume. Achieve a good job so you can be called successful. Everything we work in toward in high school and college, whether we know it or not, is to achieve success in the form of a comfortable income, an enjoyable job, and maybe even a spouse and 2.5 kids.
Of course, I want all this. I want to get good grades. I want to build my resume. I want to earn a job in my field. And I am taking steps to achieve these goals. I do my homework. I study. I try to be involved in clubs, although it is hard to find the time. I’m looking at applying for internships soon. But sometimes, I look at these goals and wonder how much they are really worth.
I began college as a business major. I didn’t know quite what I wanted to do, still don’t, really, so it was the practical choice. But the past few semesters, I began to struggle with my business classes. It got to the point where my Spanish classes, for my minor, were the only bright spots in my schoolwork. I was thrown for a loop. This wasn’t what was supposed to happen. I thought I was the person who wouldn’t change her major, who knew what she wanted even when she didn’t know specifics. But I wasn’t. It is scary to look at your life and realize you are not doing what you want to be doing.
Of course, my own problem could be a lot worse. I came in with enough credits that my issue is having too many options. But I’ve gone round and round, weighing all of them, looking at classes, making four-year plans, and trying to deal with homework and friends and family all on top of that, and it’s been incredibly hard.
I am not a crier. I never have been. But walking to classes with my friends a few days ago, everything just got to me. I hadn’t done well on a test I thought I was prepared for. I was stressed about a big project that is coming up in a few weeks. And I didn’t know whether I was even on the right academic path. I had a meltdown in the middle of the sidewalk, I guess it has to happen to everyone at some point.
That is when my friends stepped up. They didn’t try to tell me what to do or give me any answers. They just sympathized with me and reminded me that it’s okay to not know what I’m doing. It’s okay to change plans. And sometimes it’s okay to skip class to drink Starbucks and sit in the sun if that’s what you need.
And that is what I needed. I needed to remind myself that there are other forms of success and achievement that are far less easy to measure. I reminded myself that talking and laughing and just hanging out may not look like much, but that’s why I’m here on earth — to create and maintain and deepen relationships. By doing this, I’m achieving fellowship. Life is about people who know us wholly, and who we know wholly, and who we can laugh and cry and grow with our entire lives. When I get to the end of my life, I’m not going to lay on my deathbed and ask to look at my grades or my degree or my shiny nameplate. I’m going to surround myself with the people I love. That is the highest form of achievement I can imagine.
Written by blogging pal NerdyWordyBirdy, a book-loving, double Marketing and Spanish Major at a university in southern United States. Find her Blog Here.