Stuck on the back burner

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April 11, 2008

1:43 PM

With the year winding down and departments distributing awards and accolades, the campus is abuzz with pride. As an extremely jealous person, I am dealing with some of the hardest moments.

Tuesday, select other students and I met in the University Center to attend an awards ceremony. At first, I wasn’t even going to go. I received the invitation in my CSU and just figured it was open to everyone. Tuesday evening, however, I found myself being dragged to the UC to find catered food, a podium and the same 200 or so students who are always honored at such things.
I’m glad, I suppose, that I am such good friends with the movers and shakers of the College. Perhaps everyone considers themselves friends with this crowd as a virtue of their involvement and commitment to the campus. But part of me wanted to run away from the Swedish meatball chafing dish, back to the safety of my sweatpants and waiting thesis.

These award ceremonies are nothing but a disappointment. Since my middle school days, I have always convinced myself that I was totally worthy of any honor, no matter how ludicrous. Pulitzer? Yes, please; thank you. This was no different.

Everyone — and by everyone I mean celebrities — always says that receving a nomination is the greatest honor. This is clearly a lie. Had I not been dragged by my hallmates, I would never have known I was nominated for anything — and as it is, I’m not quite sure what I was nominated for. I would not have had the twinge of self-doubt as I left the room, full of pecan squares and Gouda.
I know that all of the recipients are committed achievers and social motivators. I was even proud of myself for genuinely being proud of my friends and peers who won. I clapped sincerely and congratulated the recipients with utmost honestly. and warmth.

Does that get an award? The Magnanimity Prize?

My father always talks about these shindigs as “mutual admiration societies,” and I can’t help but agree. But I know I’d win the hypocrisy prize knowing that I really, really, really wanted to be the most admired of all the mutual admirers.

I think it’s totally natural for people to want to win acknowledgement and affirmation. At least I do. I would just feel much better about myself if nobody told me I was even in the running, and then I didn’t win. I don’t want to know that I came close to anything. But maybe that’s just me being crazy.
I suppose my jealousy is a battle with my own ego; I have a simple analogy for this. We are all delicious fish at the seafood counter — I can’t blame myself if some board’s menu calls for tuna instead of halibut. Halibut is just as tasty, but different. Right? Don’t you love halibut? Come on! Okay, I’m jealous of tuna: it’s commercial and accessible and delicious.

Do you see what happens when we honor the best and brightest? It makes everyone else feel insignificant and sucky. Serves me right only being kind of great as opposed to actually fantastic. I think mediocrity would have been less detrimental to my feelings.
My English teacher in high school gave some advice to us before our class took the SAT. She told us to sing a little song before the test or anytime we were nervous. It went: “I am the greatest, I am the greatest, I am the greatest … yeah!” I’ve recently returned to her SAT song as a new mantra during these concluding days of the semester. I think it will do wonders; it should get a Grammy.

__Charlotte Savino is a Confusion Corner columnist. She really does congratulate the winners. Seriously.__

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