Be Happy with You

Dana Shefet, Editor-in-Chief

“So, what are you going to do after graduation?” It is a question that has taken many forms throughout our lives. As kids, people asked us what we wanted “to be” when we grew up. At the beginning of high school, we began formulating a plan for what we were going to do after high school, and by senior year we are being asked, “What do you want to do for the rest of your life?” The answer to this question follows an equally predictable formula. We quickly describe our intended college majors, field of study and ideal professions or list the extracurricular activities we have memorized from our resumes. Rarely do you hear someone answer with, “I plan to be happy and healthy and spend quality time with my family, ” or “I’m just going to be me and see where that leads me.”

As high school students who are constantly under societal stress of perfection, we allow ourselves to be defined by a small and relatively insignificant part of who we really are. We maintain an unfortunate belief that we are what we do rather than take pride in what we are capable of to help define us.

I was recently approached by a fellow student and was asked, “You’re the girl who is involved in like every organization at Athens, right!?” I will testify that being labeled as a super-involved student does help describe my resume and niche at Athens; however, I like to believe there is more to me than the positions I fill. It caused me to consider whether I was allowing this part of my identity overshadow a multitude of traits and passions that make me who I am.

We should take great pride in what we are capable of. However, the tendency to judge based on actions and resume builders rather than self worth undermines the importance of our character.

Despite common belief, you are much more than your GPA, and whether it rises or falls, you will remain the same person you previously were. It is your reputation, passions, character and morals that will stick by you the rest of your life and will get you much farther than any activity you engage in or any grade you receive.

This is not to say we should not be concerned for the future or work hard to secure our dream careers. However, we must remember that we all have a self-worth defined by our character that cannot be diminished by even the most horrendous grade or empty resume. Amazing opportunities emerge from unexpected places. We should embrace our experiences as contributing to our character rather than define ourselves by what we do.

So next time someone asks what you plan “to be” or “do,” consider your answer carefully. While nothing you say could adequately speak to what you hope for yourself and your future, you can avoid a lot of stress and pain if you speak to what you know best — you.