to be successful

two days ago, i sat in a stadium full of people in my brother’s high school graduation naturally feeling proud of his high school accomplishments. after all, he is moving on to a new phase in his life.

and just in the midst of my being a regular, proud sibling, i heard a voice in my head:

all these kids, just as i was, are being brainwashed into a greater system where they are continually taught to believe that their success is defined by a number: their test scores, the credits they will be accumulating each semester, their GPAs, etc.

i confess, i am a part of this system. i play my role. i go to school, i work enough to accomplish particular grades in order to fit a percentile in my class that would be considered as successful, i try to score a number of internships before graduating, and once i graduate next year, success will continually be defined by the system: dependent on one’s career, the salary earned, one’s title and position, etc. etc. etc. etc. it does not stop.

i’m not saying i’m ungrateful for having the opportunity to attend school. i recognize my individual privileges in the life that i have and in this body. i recognize the good happenings i’ve ran into in my life through school. but i’m also just acknowledging that the education system is much like other structures in society.

more often than not—people do what they do for the wrong reasons. not only do we want to fit into the system but we find ways to survive in it. we’re pressured into feeling that what we do isn’t good enough, so we strive for more.

and truthfully, we tend to feel this way because what we try to accomplish are achievements defined by society and not our own.

k.t.

june 2019

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