It’s hard to feel adequate at a university like Tufts. I spent many precious hours of my winter break updating my LinkedIn and resume in order to secure a summer internship. I know I’m not alone in this thought process; we all came out of high school at the top of our game. It takes adjustment to realize that now you might be in the middle of the pack (and that’s okay!)
Over a few tacos, my mom and I had a conversation regarding what I hope to get out of life, but it ended up being an Anna Tolette Panic FestivalTM about what I should be doing over break. In reality, my sole accomplishment has been plowing through all five seasons of “Girls” (2012–present) thanks to my friend Megan’s HBO GO account. Mom’s first tidbit of advice was to calm down. According to her, I’m only 19 years old and there is no reason why my entire life has to be figured out now. When she was in college, she spent her summers waitressing, not applying to internships that look good on a resume. Unfortunately for students today, the job market has changed since the 1980s, when my mom first stepped out into the world with her own NESCAC education. Just having a college degree doesn’t seem to be enough anymore and that scares me. I convince myself constantly that, while watching my fourth consecutive episode of “Girls,” there are about a million other things that I could (and should) do to better my chances for success. You work hard to get into the college of your dreams. You work hard to receive a degree. You work hard to secure a job for yourself, in which you will work hard for the rest of your life. Life is hard work. It’s becoming increasingly important to take time for yourself to watch an episode of “Girls” or go on a run to clear your head or eat frozen yogurt with your best friend. I think people have lost the ability to be nice to themselves. Here we are, getting caught up in what the next step is and the next goal we want to achieve, but there’s a certain point at which you must cut yourself off for some peace of mind.
I’ve studied French for about 9 years now, and I intend to study abroad in Paris next fall. In Paris, I would have the opportunity to enroll in a French university and immerse myself deeply in a culture that I have grown to appreciate and love; yet I still worry about how the program will affect my GPA. Isn’t it better to have a challenging yet incredible chance to grow as an individual rather than limiting yourself to a one-page resume? It is infinitely more important to gain the experiences that color your life and make you who you are. The culture surrounding students today is enough to make anyone go mad. Sometimes, focusing on individual details of a puzzle to make certain colors fit together is a more effective strategy than trying to perceive the picture as a whole.