Read all of my musings of the world, unedited.
Some weeks, I know exactly what I want to write about. I write different versions of each post, carefully selecting each word as I go along. I write and then re-write and then proofread and then re-write some more – until it’s perfect.
Other weeks (this week), I struggle to find the words that convey what I am trying to say. I sit at my laptop, staring at the same blank word document for hours. Today, I have roughly four million different thoughts in my brain, all competing for my full attention. Its midterm week back at good old Bryant U – and my mind is definitely feeling it.
Sometimes, it’s really hard to be a full time student. And I’m not talking about the hours of reading, or writing 30 page term papers, or the thought of taking my GREs and applying to PhD programs.
The hardest thing about being a 22 year old, 5th year Bryant bulldog is feeling out of place. The weird looks I get whenever I see an underclassmen, like a ghost is walking around on campus. And it’s especially hard when I know people who are moving out, starting their careers, paying off their student loans, and seem to have their lives completely together.
Some days I wonder if I made the right decision to pursue my Master’s degree. The majority of my close friends are also pursuing advanced degrees, so they can easily relate to my struggles. Some days, I feel like I’m failing. Like I chose the wrong path. Like my inevitable doom (crushing student debt) is going to collapse on top of me at any minute.
Other days, I don’t feel this way at all – I know that I needed a fifth year at Bryant to really put me on my path and help me find my passions. I have learned way more in my graduate classes than my undergrad classes combined. But still, lately I can’t shake this feeling like I am falling behind. And this has been making me think a lot about the whole concept of failure.
As an undergrad at Bryant, we are basically conditioned to believe that failure is good to us. They drill into us the importance of perseverance and tenacity and learning from your mistakes blah blah blah.
And trust me, I definitely think its okay to fail sometimes. Right now, I feel like everyone I know, including myself, is under a crazy amount of pressure – get a job, pay your loans, post a cute Instagram – whatever your priorities are, I am sure there is some sort of pressure weighing down your life.
So if failing is so okay, why are we afraid to fail? Why do we stay up all night, writing papers or cramming for exams? Why do we stress about job interviews and performance reviews? How do we escape feeling like a failure, when we’re just human?
Is failure considered failure, even if you grow from the experience?
This is something I need to work on. If you know me, you know my overly high strung, type-a personality over analyzes every decision that falls into my lap – so it’s hard for me not to be hypersensitive about my decision to forego a job offer and pursue my master’s.
I think what’s important, and something that I am learning, is that everyone has their own definition of success. I didn’t come to Bryant four years ago to get a job or pursue a career at an investment firm, or hedge fund, or one of the big four accounting firms. Who says that a job offer is the only measure of success?
This week – and this month, and this year – I hope to find my own definition of success. Whether that’s graduating on time, becoming a published author, or finding a new career path.
So, maybe failure can be a good thing, if you let it. At least that’s the position I’m going to take next week when I get my midterm grades back (: