In-between crying over William Godwin’s dedication to his wife upon her death and crying over having to write 10,000 words about this whilst revising, I found myself experiencing the worst case of writers’ block I’ve had. How these words are appearing on the page now, I have no idea. I tried everything: 1. Sitting with friends in the library 2. Sitting without friends in the library 3. Booking myself an entire room in the library. 4. Sitting at home with my flat mate 5. Sitting at home alone… why? In aiming to write something (anything), I ended up watching a movie trailer about a film called ‘Fed Up’ and not noticing the irony of my situation. This trailer is immensely problematic in my opinion but this is not the week for that discussion, despite my feelings about it. With an exam and the most important deadline of my life in five days, I couldn’t help by wonder… what is success?
As humans we are very quick to judge others, and even quicker to judge ourselves based on the purported standards of others. Can a 1.1 in rocket science or an estimated GPA of 5.0 really define success? Growing up, we are taught that teachers and parents know best, and that those who try hard at school are content in life. To what extent is this true? Knowing all that we do about psychology, shouldn’t we be aiming at educating children in the art of the pie-chart? With CV buzz-words on the minds of employers, balancing extra-curricular with studying is deemed important. With the rest of the pie-chart being equally important for personal development, we are missing out here. In holding up one ideal as success, failure and depression is inevitable. The success-system doesn’t account for individual differences, or allow for personal choice. When pleasing others is seen as successful, nobody wins. What grade did you get in life? Success is achieving what you want, whatever that is, and not being afraid to try. Being able to get up again after failure is more probable if it is your dream, and selling yourself short will leave you frustrated. Don’t be afraid to try for what you really want. Unless what you really want is illegal/immoral/damaging in any way. Being able to look after yourself and being honest about what you want will leave you in a position to make others happy.
In trying to tell myself that I have not written this column to comfort my dissertation-blues, I am hoping for the best this week in terms of hearing my alarm-clock. I will be putting my phone onto ‘aeroplane mode’ as I would rather be on an aeroplane as I must concentrate on writing. Deciding what you want in life can be very hard, and chasing after it can be even harder. As I am still scholarship hunting in-between work, I find myself incredibly grateful to have wonderful friends and family who put up with my non-stop talking. I feel my acknowledgements page may be slightly easier to write. True success is being happy with who you are and what you do, so don’t forget those who helped you get there. So much cheese and I’m not even sorry.