On ######s

Too many times we define people by numbers.
Hours of sleep. Salary. House value. Weight. GPA.
I am not a number. And neither are you.
SAT score. ACT score. A-Level score. Midterm score. Final score.
I am not a number. And neither are you.
Class rank. GRE. MCAT. LSAT. BAR.
I am not a number. And neither are you.
Federal poverty line. Debt. Family size. Budget. Pocket money.
I am not a number. And neither are you.

In elementary school I was under the impression that my grades reflect my capabilities and potential. But they’re just numbers. As a college student, I work harder and study more than I ever have before for those numbers. But they’re just numbers. Everyday is a competition and it’s exhausting. Being unable to meet my own expectation is one of the most discouraging experiences I’ve ever had. Sometimes I feel like I’m failing my family, myself, and everyone I love. Other times I feel as if I’m rocking the life I’ve been given. It’s all depends on perspective.

I am one of 30,000 other brilliant young minds. Just one. One in a 720-person lecture. Or one in a 15-person section. I go to school with some of the most qualified and dedicated people in the world. That is at once crazy amazing and crazy hard-to-deal-with. It’s pressure, it’s stress, but it’s also opportunity. I’ve found that opportunity is both a curse and a blessing. I’ve done so many wonderful things in my time here. I’m so thankful and I’m pretty content. But there’s a part of me that knows that someone has done more. And someone has done better. What I have done is not enough.

Society has instilled in me (and everyone) a constant need to “do more.” That’s a powerful, driving force. It spurs innovation and advancement. It increases the amount of wonderful moments in the world. But it’s also dangerous. It can lead to overwork, burnout, stress. It can rip friendship apart and destroy relationships. It can make a person feel small. It can make a person feel unworthy. It’s a see-saw and, like any see-saw, the key is balance. Balance is something that I’m working towards everyday. To focus not on the resume or the transcript or the numbers but on the development and the path. It’s important to do well but it’s more important to be well.

So if my score average that does not mean that I am average. The numbers are not everything. The numbers do not mean more than maintaining friendships or healthy living or having fun. The numbers are not necessary to do something valuable. Value and meaning have varying definitions, depending on who you talk to. It’s time to figure out what they mean for me and start working towards making them a reality. After all, the numbers now are temporary but a meaningful life is forever.

21 days till Christmas [:



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