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Finding alternate routes to success

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November 2, 2015

11:50 PM

Success is good. Personally, I love success. Who doesn’t?

Success creates a feeling of accomplishment and worth that most of us are continuously trying to find. Upon receiving an acceptance letter to the College of William and Mary, I was so excited because I recognized the prestige and intelligence associated with the College. In some sense, I believed that attending such a respected university would set me along a path to success that, quite honestly, I otherwise had no idea how to find.

… attending such a highly-ranked school with statistics that point toward success does not make us “better” than any one else at any other university or those who decided not to attend college at all.

This is certainly not untrue; 95 percent of students at the College stay for their second year, and 90 percent then successfully graduate, on average. Beyond the statistics, students here are intelligent, creative and, for the most part, extremely successful. The College is a great place to be.

At the same time, attending such a highly-ranked school with statistics that point toward success does not make us “better” than any one else at any other university or those who decided not to attend college at all. Crazy, I know.

In today’s world, college seems to be a measure of intelligence. It’s hard not to deem someone with a doctoral degree as smarter than a recipient of a bachelor’s. And in some cases, this would probably not be a false assumption. But intelligence is not a measure of how many years are spent in school, and those who do not attend college are in no way “worse” than those who do.

Statistically, college graduates do have a higher chance of finding employment. This no doubt plays a large role in why so many of us are here. However, times are changing. In a recent Huffington Post article, Donna Harris discusses the massive contribution of technology to our economy. Many jobs that used to be maintained by humans can now be filled by computers. With such a loud technology presence, Harris wonders about what is left for us.

The world needs entrepreneurs: it needs people with a capacity for creativity and an ability to innovate. And for some people, that doesn’t mean going to college.

Her answer is creativity. The world of today is becoming less about what we know and more about how we think. The world needs entrepreneurs: it needs people with a capacity for creativity and an ability to innovate. And for some people, that doesn’t mean going to college.

This is not to say that we should call it a day and drop out. It’s simply a reminder that we need to stay true to our own desires.

Am I here just because the world told me I needed to be, or am I here because I genuinely want to learn, create and achieve? It might be a combination of both, and that’s okay.

At the College, we are leaders. But leadership does not equal superiority. Leadership means recognizing what’s best for us and going after it, while at the same time remembering our place is just one among many. Instead of focusing on the future and the need for success, let’s be the best versions of ourselves we can be.

Let’s be devoted to learning and passionate about creating. At the College, we can do that.

Email Abby Berry at [email protected]

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  • Abby Berry

  • Jordan Knepper

    This has some really wise insight into how not all of us are called to college. It also highlights what college is and why we really want to succeed in our time on campus.