Learning to ‘like’ other people’s accomplishments

The time has arrived: My Facebook news feed is slowly filling with posts from seniors announcing their definite plans for after graduation, whether those are internships, jobs or graduate school. In the midst of seeing all these announcements, I find it easy to “like” these posts while actually being jealous because I have no definite plans (yet) for after graduation.

Envy is easy. It’s not hard to become jealous when everyone around you appears to be getting their dream jobs and you’re stuck thinking, “Maybe I can figure out a way to get paid for watching Netflix eight hours a day, five days a week.” I think we become envious of each other because for our whole lives, we’ve been treated as if we are in competition with each other. Get the highest grade on that paper. Win the election to become president of that organization. Outdo everyone in that class debate. We constantly think we always have to one-up everyone.

I’m not saying competition is always bad; if you go to the College of William and Mary, you must have been competitive in something. Yet I do think we can compete less and support more. Oftentimes, when seniors talk about getting a great job offer, I’ll start to feel jealous when I didn’t even want that job. When my friend tells me he got into an MBA program, I’ll think, “Why can’t that be me?” even though I’m not a business major and want to stay far away from Wall Street.

Instead of being envious as people I know begin to figure out their lives after graduation, I’m learning how to be happy for them — and not a fake happiness, but a genuine joy for them because their hard work has paid off.

A good way for me to end my envy is by being thankful for where I am right now. For example, I’m thankful for the classes I’m taking, for my family who supports my college education and for the great friends I have here. I’m even learning to be thankful for all the unknown paths that await me after graduation. While I’m not abandoning my quest for what I will do after May 15th, I am making sure to be thankful for the moments I currently have.

Unless I’m applying to the exact same graduate school program or job as my senior friends, I’m not in competition with them. Now is the time when we seniors need to support each other the most as we prepare for the next stage of our lives. This will make us feel like we don’t have to embark on the treacherous senior year journey alone. By being thankful for what I’ve been given, I’m learning how to truly “like” the accomplishments of other seniors.


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