The Upside to an Existential Crisis

“Don’t let making a living prevent you from making a life.” Typically ESPN is not a likely place to find pieces of advice for life, but that does not mean it’s impossible. I stumbled upon this quote from legendary UCLA basketball coach, John Wooden, during a pregame show before a recently televised Bruins game. I generally assume that helpful advice is something to incorporate into your life moving forward and taking in stride, but this made me feel a need for immediate introspection and retrospection.

In class we had discussed before the how meaningless a single grade can be on for our future and the stress we subject ourselves as students to now is pointless in the long run. My first thought on the matter was to make the claim that while a single grade can’t derail an entire education, many small grades in culmination can open up a world of possibility. As i started to think on that same vein, my idea started to change. Opportunity is not reserved only for those who follow the rules and get good grades. Nor is it reserved strictly to be interpreted in a positive sense. Regardless of what we as individuals decide to do with a situation, we will always be having an experience to follow. The process of decision making does not result in only the good, but we simply aim for that which we perceive to be positive for ourselves. It’s been said that some of the greatest accomplishments start out of failure and I think that these shortcomings are what have facilitated the genius that followed. Failures are not a setback, but simply a fresh perspective.

My college selection process is quite fresh in my mind. As I walk around campus as a student of American University I pass many prospective students who are in the same situation I was just a short few months ago. While I may not be able to speak from experience, I have made sure to pay strict attention to the professors I’ve had and their biggest ideas. The overarching theme I’ve discovered is to pursue that which you feel a true investment in and everything can fall in line with hard work and focus. A lesson I have been told by many adults, but honestly did not take seriously until quite recently. We get too wrapped up in picking an institution that will help us get a job so we can work our days away. It’s like a pre-resignation for the rest of our lives. We so easily accept the “reality” of the dismal world we live in and focus only on self preservation. I believe that taking a step back and imparting Wooden’s advice is truly the key to a successful life, not just checking all the boxes that society has drawn up to say your life has meaning.

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