Similar to the atmosphere of many competitive colleges and universities, Whitman tends to welcome an academic environment that perpetuates stress and self-criticism. I mean, what else would you expect from a group of intelligent and outstanding students? But that is beside the point. With a culture that may pressure students into putting too much on their plate and the idea of shame for those who don’t, it is important to find your inner peace.
Your peers may juggle multiple jobs. Perhaps they’re on academic overload? Maybe double majoring? With a couple of minors? An internship secured for the summer? AND they have good grades? Sometimes students feel left out. I know I did, with the tendency like many others to compare my accomplishments and commitments to those of my peers. But then I realized, why would I want to say I am devoted to so many activities when the passion and purpose behind the commitment is not even there? Whitties do amazing things, and that is undeniable. There are a plethora of opportunities that Whitties are a part of, including opportunities that we have created for ourselves. But one has to realize that achievement and success should not be critiqued on the basis of comparison to those before you.
Success means different things to different people. Just because something may seem so minuscule, that does not mean it is not something to celebrate. It is okay to take time when searching for your passions. It is okay to experiment and try things out only to quit them to find something new. Being in college is all about finding yourself, or at times even a reinvention of self. In other words, if you don’t know what you’re doing, there are so many others who are in the same boat as you.
Find inner peace in knowing that you have time to figure things out. You have time to try new things. You have time to find the courage to do so. Relax. Learn from your mistakes. Do not sit and wallow in them. Take risks, or you’ll regret it. Challenge yourself, and ask for help to overcome hardships. Whitman is your new home. Always remember to take up space. You deserve it. And most importantly, be at peace with who you are.