Recognizing daily achievements

Fall break has given me some much needed time to clear my mind and re-evaluate my life, my goals and my recent efforts.

It was a conversation with two of my friends as we sat around a fire in a quaint Ohio neighborhood that made me realize what I've been missing. After one friend admitted that she's been feeling beyond stressed about her career goals, the other started telling us about a book she's been reading that focuses on how our society has seemed to lose sight of the significance of small achievements and instead aims for massive successes. 

I wish I had the words to explain how hard that conversation hit me and at just the right time.

I've been placing so much pressure on myself to be a world-changing writer, pushing myself to finish school and leap into adult life and obtain the highest achievements possible in the world of journalism. I feel that if I'm not writing columns that change someone's outlook on life or help someone to understand people who think and live differently, then I'm not doing enough. I've lost sight, and we've all lost sight of the significance of the success we're living every day. We are college students. Every day –even those lazy days when we skip more classes than we attend – we are choosing to better ourselves and in turn better the lives of those around us. We learn more about the world in each class, each day. We live in a constant flow of success, yet we tell ourselves we aren't doing enough because we've made this success and those like it so commonplace.

As a sophomore with friends who are mostly juniors, I hear them beginning to prepare for their senior year, for internships and future job possibilities, and I feel stuck. I feel that since I'm not making the same amount of progress as my friends, I'm failing. Yet, I forget to count my successes. I don't stop to consider the success of my actually attending class, or the fact that I get to write a weekly column, which is a goal I set for myself as a freshman. 

This, I think, is the reason things like the "sophomore slump" and "senioritis" and whatever other kind of college related "disease" exists. We don't count our everyday achievements as successes, so we live our day to day lives in a rush to get to a point in our futures where ultimate success can be reached. 

Rather than rushing through college and stressing about our lives lacking success, we need to awaken ourselves to the achievements we make every day that go unnoticed. I'm not saying we need to convince ourselves we've done enough and stop pushing ourselves towards higher success, that's how we continue to better ourselves and the world around us. Yet in this middle period that we call college, we shouldn't lose what we're accomplishing in our current lives to our vast dreams for the future. We must be intentional about recognizing the small, yet significant achievements we make every day and realize that these are paving the way for greater success.

Danielle Waddell is sophomore majoring in journalism. Her column runs weekly.

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