“How many of you want to be a lawyer? A doctor? An engineer?” Numerous hands fly up for each question as if every student is trying to prove his or her worth among the countless others who also have their lives planned out to the second. Whether students are in search of a steady job or even fame, we all seem to be chasing after a single word – success.
Under the impression that this pursuit will be continuous, a lot of us try to find shortcuts. For example, we’re told to participate in goal-setting activities, take part in heavy discussions about our dreams and aspirations, and even watch other people define what it is that they want to do with their lives. These things are, in the moment, truly harmless and have the potential to steer each individual on the right path to success. However, more often than not, they tend to steer students into a direction where their goals and aspirations don’t seem good enough.
After having experienced many of these situations, each individual is expected to be able to define success in his or her own terms. Gina Jiang, Class of 2017, said she believes that “Success is being proud of how hard you’ve worked for something.” Additionally, Justin Xu, Class of 2017, mentioned that success to him “is the characteristic of being able to carry out faith in your own abilities and try your very best until you achieve your goals.”
On the other hand, some people come out of these previously mentioned situations with perspectives on success which are not often thought about. Meghana Kamineni, Class of 2017, said that “people with flawed, extraneous goals in mind can never feel true success if their goals are impossible. Success is a personal characteristic that people have to judge for themselves. It’s when you recognize that you’ve achieved all of your goals after working hard.” Another student, Class of 2017, said that she did not believe in the existence of success and that no one is ever truly successful because there is always something that can be done better. I believe these views on success have some very good points and could very well be true, but I also agree with some other students’ opinions.
Alan Ren, Class of 2016, said that “success is how happy you are and how happy you make others.” Similarly, Reid Fikejs, Class of 2016, stated that “success is being able to do what you’re happy doing.” Happiness seems to be a key characteristic in the journey toward success, because you can’t truly be successful until you’re truly happy.
We live in a world where nothing is more valuable than success, and we constantly have to prove that success in order to feel satisfied and worthy in comparison to everyone else. For a lot of us, success became a nearly tangible thing when we were accepted into IMSA — a time when we could all say “I did it” and move on, feeling like we could tackle anything that came our way, because we were the best of the best. To be honest, though, the real race to success didn’t begin until after we got to IMSA. That acceptance letter we all received was only a single leap toward accomplishing our goals. Now, maintaining our grades, balancing our extracurriculars and our social lives, and trying to become the greatest leader to ever walk the halls of IMSA are all obstacles getting in the way of our success, making this journey a lot harder, longer, and tiresome. Perhaps these obstacles are here to give us a bigger sense of accomplishment and satisfaction when we finally graduate. Maybe, just maybe, the point of all this is to prove that we know how to fight through our obstacles to reach that success. Because it’s not about the win anymore – it’s about the fight.
Everyone loses at some point or another. Whether it’s an actual loss, or just the loss of will to keep searching for one’s dreams, everyone suffers through his or her own losses. For that reason, success is about the battle to get there, and overcoming those losses to be content. The fight to achieve success at IMSA is against the sleep-deprivation, emotional breakdowns, uncomfortable situations, malnutrition, and sometimes the sheer weight of the immense work we have to complete each day. In the end, success won’t matter — but how hard we fought to get there and how we are so much closer to being who we want to be will.
IMSA has truly changed my definition of success. Success is no longer the moment when I become the doctor I have always aspired to be, or the day when I feel content with my accomplishments because I’ve done what I’ve always wanted to do. Success has become about how I achieved my goals — how hard I tried, who stopped in their own race to help me get back up when I tripped, the speed bumps that jostled me but kept me going, and most importantly, the confidence with which I crossed the finish line. Success isn’t a race between each individual, but rather within each individual. At IMSA, it’s important to understand that we don’t have to chase after our dreams. If we just work hard and try our best, our dreams will chase after us, and that’s what IMSA seems to be all about.
(featured image: http://imgkid.com/success-and-failure-images.shtml)