Alright, this will be my final sentimental post regarding college. (probably not, I can’t make promises like that because I’m just a sentimental guy!) But as my last finals week comes to a close I want to reflect on my time at the University of Wisconsin-Madison as well as give you my definition of success.
College was such a fascinating time and much different from anything I was used to. There was less structure, more independence, and no parents. Although I missed my family quite often, I wouldn’t have wanted college to be any different because I learned so much this way. I thought I grew after my first year of college, which I did, but not as much as I did within this past year and I realized this recently so here’s what happened:
I made mistakes, I had my heart broken, I stayed up until 6am, and managed to go to class when all I wanted to do was run to Picnic Point and scream at the top of the lungs. But I also had many successful moments, found love both intimately and with friends, and figured out time management and ways to handle stress and anxiety.
I made friends, I lost friends, I reconnected with friends and I cherished every moment I had with them. I learned about myself, what I want, what I deserve, how to love myself, and how to love others the way they need to be loved. I learned it’s okay to be selfish from time to time but it’s also important to remain selfless.
I learned I don’t always have to be correct but I do have to always be humble and kind (Stop, Tim McGraw!). I learned it’s important to look at the big picture of what’s ahead and not every plan will fit in your time frame; patience is a true virtue and you should learn it along with flexibility. It’s okay to cry but never let the negative thoughts get the best of you because you are better than that.
It’s important to study and be academically successful but you can never let those things get in the way of you living your life and being happy. Lastly, do good. Do good in the world, no matter the scale, do good in your home, your city, your state. Do good things and see the benefits you will receive. This brings up my definition of success.
Everybody has a different way of defining success (by the way this is a great question to ask in job interviews) and my definition of success is judged by my why: the number of peoples’ lives I can make better, even if just for a moment.We are all entitled to the pursuit of happiness and I firmly believe everyone should be as happy as possible, but if I see a person needs help realizing this, I will step in.
My goal in life is to improve peoples’ lives as much as I can whether it’s with laughter, service, or just be the person there for them. Have I been successful in college? I’m going to give a qualified yes. I believe I have influenced the lives of everyone I have interacted with here on campus in a positive way, but I will always feel I could do more. I would like to take back the bad times and replace them with good ones, but I can’t, I can only live with them, learn from them, and move on. But I wouldn’t want it any other way because every failure provides me a chance to grow and try again.
Am I successful? Sure. Can I do better? Yes. Will I do better? Absolutely, it’s my life goal after all and I will pursue this in all aspects of life as I move forward. My advice to everyone reading, take the time to appreciate everything around you, it flies by faster than you could possibly imagine, and also, figure out how you define success. This will dictate your motives, your interactions with others, and your orientation on this journey called life. And now I will leave you with this quote to think a little.
“If you’re not making somebody else’s life better, then you’re wasting your time,”-Will Smith