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Thursday
05/11/17

Average Joes with a dream and a love for Netflix

Posted by bostonki on May 11, 2017 in Uncategorized

I have to admit, one of the tougher things about going to a university as large and world-altering as UB is that you sometimes are feeling inadequate about your accomplishments.  This is something I’ve been dealing with a lot lately, especially as the school year wraps up and prestigious scholarships and awards are handed out.  I can’t help but feel not only a twinge of jealousy, but also annoyance at the fact that merely keeping up your grades, becoming involved, and working on your mental health every day is not enough.

First it was the round of grad school awards like the Goldwater and Fulbright.  Then it’s the College of Arts and Sciences talking about it’s outstanding students.  Then it’s academic awards, which my own floormates have begun to win.  Everyone around you is suddenly curing Africa’s HIV/AIDS problem and building robots to help disabled children learn.  These are wonderful accomplishments, and these students deserved to be recognized, but what about the average Joes?

I have a good GPA, write this blog, have eased myself into a major/minor combination that I am absolutely in love with, work for the Admissions office, am studying abroad in Australia this summer, and am going to be a research assistant in the fall.  But I’ve also dealt with severe depression, loneliness, feelings of inadequacy, jealousy, anxiety, and barely even became involved until my sophomore year because all of these feelings were too overwhelming for a freshman to handle.  What about the people like me, who have rough starts but ultimately begin to find a path to happiness and success?  What does it matter if I’m not curing HIV/AIDS at age nineteen?  I’ve probably taken a lot more steps than the people that I grew up around.

I’m proud to be a part of such a wonderful university, but the culture needs to change.  We need to stop placing all our glory on the same twenty students who are handpicked and labeled as “able to change the world” while the rest of us just kind of slip under the radar and hope that graduate schools and employers recognize that we too have done important things.  It needs to be more about fostering a culture of personal growth and pathfinding, rather than about what project somebody’s taking on to win the Goldwater.  Good for the kids who are able to do that, but the overwhelming majority of students at this university, including me, are not.  We are just average college students who have a dream and a passion, but love to watch Netflix and take life at our own pace.  We’re not superheroes, and certainly praising those at this university who are is not conducive.

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