In college it’s easy to get caught up in this carefree lifestyle, but it’s just as easy to feel the pressure to do well as soon as classes pick up. Even in high school, academic stress and the need to feel successful are familiar concepts.
At my high school, the definition of success followed this trend on an amplified scale. Your success defined itself not only by your GPA, but also by how many AP courses you took, how many clubs you joined, how many leadership executive board positions you held and what kind of social life you led.
And the college you committed to as a senior defined your intelligence.
The students at my high school often forgot to consider the fact that success does not actually have an objective definition. This term’s meaning specifically caters to the achievements of each unique individual. In other words, you cannot place the weight of success or the definition of intelligence on grades.
To break it down, take a moment to search your mind for that one kid in your calculus class who just could not understand derivatives. Or that one girl who, try as she might, could not pass her chemistry quizzes. At some point during our school years, we all encounter people in our classes who find that particular subject to be the worst or hardest in the world.
But who gives us the power to say that this person who finds math or science difficult finds no success? Who knows if this person excels as a talented artist or an incredible athlete?
At the University of Maryland, over one thousand clubs and organizations cater to the interests of students. From athletics to arts to education, UMD’s diverse set of groups allows students to own and define their own paths for success. Personally, I carry this mentality forward in college; success is not determined by intelligence, but by passion and determination.
“It’s all about finding your true self through opportunity, scholarship and friendship,” said UMD sophomore Grace Licsko. “It’s more than just academics.” Like Licsko said, it’s important to note that success bases itself on numerous categories.
It’s not always about how many A’s you achieve or the number of your GPA.
Sometimes it’s about how many new and incredible people make a lasting impression. Other times, success means that you could to get up today, and every day, for however many years you’ve lived on this planet. Success can mean taking care of yourself and showing kindness to those around you. More than anything, it’s what you work hard for and what makes you happy.
I don’t believe that your grades or social life solely define your success. If spending a week studying and acing a midterm makes you feel successful, do it. If roaming a city with your closest college friends gives you a sense of belonging, do it. If putting all of your energy into improving your club feels great, do it.
If sitting in bed all day watching movies gives you the break you need… well, I’d go on, but I think you see the pattern here.