For the past one year I have been trying to come to terms with new things that surround me. Like history, the course of my beliefs, my values and my “ideology” has changed on multiple occasions. I see my thoughts maturing, developing as I pocket new experiences and see more of the world. By world I don’t mean only geographical places, I mean exposure to new realities , harsh discoveries and different possibilities.
Reader, I give you a brief account of how my own beliefs changed. It began with a certain desperation to get into an ivy league school. Drawn to the brand name, to the glamour and certification of an ivy league, college was always at the back of my mind. I became obsessed with the idea of an ivy. If at that moment someone told I all my chances were gone, I would have probably taken the blow really hard and suffered from clinical depression. Such was my condition.
I had previously mistaken my crazy obsession as intense passion.Something to be proud of. Slowly I became aware of the poison I was brewing for myself. SoI started toying with the idea of not getting into a top school and being okay with that. It was a difficult meal to digest. But slowly it sank in. I knew I’d be disappointed but I’d survive the blow.
But this didn’t change the fact my my short term life goal was still to get into a branded school. The prefect scores, the perfect essays, the perfect application, the perfect answers, I was preparing to strike perfect. In more honest and less eloquent terms I was trying too hard. I was desperate and I reeked of desperation.
More recently as I have thought about this, talked to different people, weighed in the consequences, the less I care about brand schools. Now here is where comes in the faint line between not caring and not letting it be the driving force of my actions. I’ve taken the reins into my hands. This realisation or enlightenment or salvation or whatever you want to call it came about for a variety of reasons.
Firstly, I slowly realised that these universities were overhyped. They are not palaces and I not a princess. They are oceans with so many fish that you get lost in the swarm.
Secondly, I realised that I wasn’t weak enough to be controlled by some imaginary admissions officer’s wishes. I wasn’t going to live my life thinking what would get me into Stanford and what would ruin my chances.
Thirdly, these schools are great but what if they aren’t for me? What if I’m not a good fit for some of these schools? I was going to do what I wanted and what I liked and what I could do, if I got in it meant I was a good fit, if not then there are many other schools where I’ll do more than just fine.
I won’t delusion you into thinking that all these realisations were an act of my self reflection and deep philosophical thoughts. Because they weren’t. I talked to a few people and they made me question my mentality. The fact that I was trying too hard simply meant that I was too desperate and could be smelt from a mile away.
Now here there might be some room for conflict.Reader, you might think I am providing opposition to ambition, that I am criticising dreams and goals. But reader, I ask you to not get me wrong. I do not propose not dreaming, I do not preach life without ambition, I simply recommend not letting your dreams hold the reins. And sometimes before we realise it, dreams become unhealthy. We constitute our happiness into arriving at a place. But who can guarantee that? Can I guarantee that I’ll be happy in Harvard or Yale? Truth is reader, that I can’t. But worrying about not going to a brand school, where I don’t even know if I’ll be happy, and thus being unhappy now is not a bet I want to wager.
We are way ahead of ages of social hierarchy and brand school doesn’t mean upper class. Brand schools don’t promise a successful future, they don’t promise happiness. They might get to decide if I’m admitted into their school or not but they don’t get to decide what I am capable of. I’m done running the rat race. I am done trying to out do people left and right. Because ask yourself reader, when does this all end? Throughout high school I’ll do what I think the college admissions committee wants from me, then throughout college I’ll do what graduate school wants from me, then in graduate school I’ll do whatever my future employer wants, throughout my job I’ll do what a promotion wants of me, so what do I do for me, reader? What do I do for me? And when do I do it?