Our Grand Obsession with Success

Advice from a College Senior

Perhaps I am not the one to talk about this topic particularly because I have never been the one student with amazing grades, incredible resume, or outstanding extracurricular activities. Rather in high school, I was the student with a variety of hobbies including Model UN and theatre and not excelling in any of these. However, I had friends who had excelled in those activities that I secretly envied. Since they were my close friends, I never dared to express this jealousy. Most of the time I envied people with grander houses than mine or my friends who had the go-to these fabulous overseas trips, or at least I imagined them to be like that. I often get mediocre grades except for the few classes I was good at but being an expert in History and Literature was not good if you enrolled in Science.

I knew I could write well, and I wrote a few good poems which my teachers seemed to like but I never got the courage to go for it. You must be confused what do I mean to go for it? I meant that I made a fantasy about the series I was going to write one day with all the characters and a phenomenal plot, but I never did. I only recently found out why I did not start writing at all, I was just too afraid, and I could not commit myself to this one dream. The reason why I did so many activities in high school was that I was afraid that I would fail. So, I signed up for many activities and when I did not get that big part or awarded after a conference at least I had an excuse. I strongly believe that the lack of commitment is a direct consequence of fear of being f unsuccessful. I wish that not I have the opportunity to ask myself this simple question, What happens if you fail? Most probably the thing happens will not affect you after a maximum of 3 months. Then why are you so afraid?

I did not commit to my classes because I thought there were so much more to life than to study for this test. And let me be frank for a moment, I was a complete fool. I realised my foulness only when I went to university. When I started university, I knew that I did not want to repeat my failures and I was determined to hard this time and frankly I did it. But I was not happy doing it because I did not have the right motivation. Just like in the Good Place, I was not getting the points because my motivation was corrupted. And I believe that this is the grand problem with the success, at least in higher education. We are so focused to get the best grades that we forget the satisfaction comes with learning an interesting subject and the urge to talk about it to everyone in the lunch break. You should not study for the grades; you should study it to satisfy your soul and the success will naturally follow. It took me all my life to acquire this simple truth and I hope that you will learn it much faster than me.




A university student expressing her own ideas on whatever captures her attention

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Elif Sıla Akbulut

Elif Sıla Akbulut

A university student expressing her own ideas on whatever captures her attention

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