Don’t let others define success for you

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Don’t let others define success for you

Mehul Shrivastva, Managing Editor

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I first stepped foot into Westford Academy as a freshman on August 29, 2015, and after the four most challenging years of my life, I’m going to walk across the stage and receive my diploma in June. It hasn’t been an easy journey, and I definitely was not a perfect student. But even though I may not remember every geometry theorem or know how to properly analyze a piece of literature, I learned lessons through my experiences that I will be able to use in college and beyond.

I spent a lot of grade school trying to conform to what other people were doing, only because they seemed to be more successful than me. I expected it to be easy: take the same classes, do the same clubs, study all the time and I’d be happy and have good grades in no time.

That did not exactly go as planned. I took classes I wasn’t capable of succeeding in, and struggled to keep up, no matter how many hours I stayed up studying. I was getting four to five hours of sleep a night, surviving only because of coffee and the naps I took during downtime in class. What was worse, none of the extra honors classes I took made me feel more accomplished, because my lack of sleep resulted in poor performance on tests.

This wasn’t because of pressure from my friends or family either. On the contrary, my family and friends were my number one support group, and were there to raise my spirits whenever I needed them without exception. Nobody once told me to be like someone else, but I tried anyway.

I was constantly told this cliche that everyone has their own direction and definition of success. It took me until my junior year of high school to find out that however cheesy that advice might be, it’s completely true.

Junior and senior year were definitely strenuous, but they were also the most fulfilling time I had in school. I took classes that I was interested in, started working and volunteering, and took some time to see my friends every once in a while.

The past few years definitely haven’t been easy, and there were many moments when I felt discouraged and stressed. However, these past four years have taught me so much about my personality and interests.

High school is a critical time where students are pushed to their limits to succeed. So keep working hard, challenge yourself, but do it because you want to. You have four years of endless opportunities to grow, explore, and learn something about yourself. So instead of conforming to a someone else’s vision of success, branch out and find yours.

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