Tuesday, August 3, 2021
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Achievements don’t equate to happiness

By Michelle Lampariello

In most ways, my desire to succeed is identical to that of the majority of my classmates — I fill my breaks from classes with internships, I’m active in a student organization and I work hard in my classes.

Many students will tell you that a lengthy resume is synonymous with a promising future, and I do believe there is some truth to that. I’m proud to attend a school where my classmates share my views on working hard today so that we can have a bright tomorrow, but I think many of us are caught up in the vicious cycle of letting our happiness depend on our professional and academic success.

The jury is still out on whether money can buy happiness — personally, I wouldn’t complain if my day job was sipping piña coladas on my private yacht; however, what I do know is that achievements do not equate to happiness.

Yes, doing well in classes is important. So is having relevant experience in your desired field, and being a good speaker, writer, listener or whatever skills you need to stand out in your profession. As college students, it’s important that we all devote time to our professional development to set ourselves up for success in our careers.

The unhealthiness of our obsession with success is not found in our desire to get an A in a class, become president of an organization or land an internship — it’s our misguided thought that if we earn a 4.0, rise through the ranks of a club or become an intern at our dream company, only then will we be happy.

There is so much more to life than the things you list on your resume. Whether it’s a talent or hobby unrelated to your major, the people you surround yourself with or your favorite show on Netflix, there are so many things to find joy in besides professional achievement.

Of course we feel happy when we achieve academically, and landing a job or internship is worthy of celebration. There is nothing wrong with being proud of ourselves when we succeed, but it’s important to not let these achievements define our happiness.

Whenever you celebrate an achievement, think about your friend who wished you luck before your exam, your significant other who brought you dinner so you could study all night and your favorite song that was playing through your headphones as you read your notes.

Remember that you’re not just a student who is meant to produce high grades and land flashy internships — you’re a person with a wealth of talents, interests and attributes. Academic achievement should not be the bulk of what makes you happy — it’s just the frosting on the cake.


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