There seems to be a predetermined structure to life, and we’re just too stubborn to admit it. Even though we exhort “following your dreams” and “living life to the fullest,” it seems we are set on doing otherwise. There’s a reason we say “follow” your dreams. It’s because chances are, you will be doing far more following than any actual attaining. That’s why it’s called a dream.

So we wrap our minds with this beautiful wrapping paper of purported broad-mindedness, when really it just masks an iron core of duty and fixation. Our lives have been mapped out for us since the very beginning. We go to school so we can get into a great college, so that we can get a good job. And by “good” job I’m not referring to its marvelous contribution to humankind. I’m referring to the lovely zeros dancing on the first paycheck. We strive to acquire a good job because it signifies our capacity to later support our children who will later go to a good school, attend a good college and pave the way to a successful career, supporting their children on their way to success. Society fuels this cycle that we ourselves feed. By letting crucial stages of live be driven by those that follow, our lives have become the future.

From the onset, we harbor this need to fulfill society’s expectations. Some of us even feel the need to exceed those expectations to the point where the standards we set for ourselves reach mammoth heights. This striving for perfection and success consumes us. We are wired this way. We were born with this respectable and yet corrosive ambition that slowly morphs into soaring demands, more from ourselves than from anyone else. This, of course, does not pertain to everyone. But I feel like the Tufts community itself, myself included, push ourselves academically because we aspire to succeed and because we expect nothing less from ourselves.

So we drown ourselves in this need to double major because it looks great on a diploma. I’m also just passionate about two things. Maybe I won’t go abroad because having the label of three majors and five-class semesters that consume my entire social life is what I relish. I need this to go to law school, med school, etc.

We should definitely try our best and work our asses off. But trying our best doesn’t necessarily mean wearing ourselves thin and missing out on a balanced life consisting of a healthy emotional, mental and social well being. Having objectives and being resolute on achieving them is admirable and respectable. But sometimes we are so set on one thing that we deceive ourselves into believing it’s what makes us happy. We begin to believe that killing ourselves studying and that the emotional and mental stress we endure as a result are worth it. Everything will pay off in the end. But when exactly does it end?