I like to think that I am a nice person and people like me. I am also positive that there are people who do not like me, I am OK with that because not everyone is going to like you; that's life. But being kind is a really big deal to me. It is so easy to be nice, and it is so fulfilling to make someone smile.
But we live in a world where kindness doesn't seem to mean much. A society where it is about who makes the most money, who lives in the biggest house, who has the best job, who goes to the best school, etc. Success is measured in wealth and materialism rather than by having a good heart, being compassionate, or simply being a good person. So I am proud to say that I think I am an overall, for the most part, good person and by my own definition, successful.
Because society's definition of success is daunting.
This past semester I made the first big steps toward pursuing my professional future, and my endeavors did not go as I had hoped. I faced rejection not once, but twice. And I am already pretty insecure about my intelligence and capabilities. I compare myself to anyone I can.
I did not get into the pre-health fraternity I had rushed. I didn't get a second interview for a job. I know I'm a freshman and this was my second semester and those are both unique challenges in and of themselves, but I know that my brother and my roommate both got into business fraternities during their freshman year. How can I not think about that? And how can I not think that they are already on a better path to American societal success than I am?
BUT: Your worth is not defined by one interview (or I guess two in my case).
I also like to remind myself in times like these of something very important that we all have heard time and time again: everything happens for a reason. Those reasons may not be crystal clear to me right now, but I firmly believe that they are good reasons.
I am reminded of the senior-year version of myself, who for a great deal of the year had her heart set on going to Case Western Reserve University. I was so much more worried about being "smart enough" to get in than I was talented enough to get the dance scholarship. Academically, I was admitted. I cried tears of joy in the high school auditorium. If I got the dance scholarship, I would go. In years before me, girls that I had spent my whole life dancing with had gotten it.
I really wasn't that worried.
Until I wasn't even invited to audition after a video submission and was refused answers to the infamous question, "why?". I was beside myself. I didn't really like any other school as I had liked Case. I, in my usual dramatic way, thought my life was over and that I was a failure and would never measure up to American societal success. But eventually, I found my way to applying to Miami University, touring the school, and falling in love.
Sometimes I think about how students pick their college based on one thing. Whether it be what they want to pursue or how excellent the academic reputation is or whatever. And I think about how I didn't pay attention to any of that. Not to say that Miami isn't a spectacular school and my academic department isn't great, because they are, but at the end of the day, I had completely flipped from the beginning of my senior year. I didn't know what I wanted to do, and I didn't care what people thought.
I chose Miami because it felt like home. I was told at numerous tours that I would know when I found my school, and for so many tours I didn't feel that. Until I found Miami. To this day, I feel like I belong there. I don't know if I was supposed to meet some super cool kids like I have, or keep doing marching band, or keep dancing, or do something big in the future, but I am supposed to be at Miami.
And maybe the Case dance board people didn't know that. But God did. And for that I am grateful.
Everything happens for a reason.
So, when things work out for others and not you, stop comparing. You are not them, and that is a good thing. You are perfectly you. You will have your own set of failures and successes unique to you. And remember, success is so much more than what society shoves down your throat. Create your own definition of success. Strive to meet that and not some silly definition someone else told you that you should believe.