When I ponder what my life will be like in 20 years, I know I want to be successful. But what is success? Everyone defines it differently: helping the environment, building a family, traveling the world, or, most likely at our age, getting into a college and earning a high paying job as an adult. But, at what cost do we sacrifice our happiness for our big dreams of being “successful?”
It’s hard to believe when someone says, “Yeah, I want to go to a college that’s best for me, and I don’t care at all about the name.” For those who can say that with confidence, props to you. As for me, I’ve been scouring the college map that comes out in the last issue of the Oracle every year since seventh grade to see who got in where, because some day I want to have my name under one of those Ivies.
The big picture of success is still incomprehensible to me, but I look at my teachers and see that most of them love what they do. The various staff members on campus have all had paths that took them on different routes which all met at the same destination. From Ivy leagues to community college, Mountain View High School staff members have received an education that eventually brought them to MVHS.
Mr. Darby, a math teacher and the ASB advisor at MVHS, worked at a ski resort for a year after high school. Following the amazing experience he had snowboarding over 100 days that year, he attended five semesters at American River Community College in Sacramento, then transferred to California State University of Monterey Bay, where mathematics was his focus. After working for an insurance company for a while after college, he decided that it wasn’t the right career path for him.
“I thought maybe it would be cool to make a lot of money, and then retire early, and then teach.” Darby said. “I realized that the job that makes me a lot of money wasn’t making me happy.”
He went back to Sacramento State to become a teacher, and says that he is now fulfilling his dream. Although he has ended up in a life that he loves and has no regrets, he wishes he had taken the SATs, tried harder junior year, and then gone to a bigger school with a football team and school spirit.
“I’ve achieved a lot for the small school…the small name that I have.”
However, Darby explained how if he went to a private university, it would have been what employers want to see, but it would have been a much rigorous program.
Despite these few experiences that could have gone a different way, he says, “getting to where I’m at now was simply chasing my dreams.”
He knows that it is important to make money to support yourself and your family, but it’s important to be happy.
“You have to decide if you’re basing success on money…or on happiness,” Darby said, “it didn’t take an Ivy league to get me to my happiness.”
Going to a prestigious college with a high level of academics is something to be extremely proud of, but getting an education in something you’re passionate about at a smaller, less well-known school can also help you fulfill your dreams. So, in these four years of concentrated stress, try your hardest in doing the things that will help you reach your definition of “success.”