Turtle & Hare

No overachiever will ever feel as though they are doing enough. They find it difficult to be proud of their work because to them the work is never done. In fact, they do not even recognize themselves as overachievers because that would suggest that they have achieved their goal in the first place. First place- for many, that is the goal. It’s not that they need to be better than others, but that they need to know there is something they are working so hard for; that all of their hard work will eventually pay off. When that becomes their sole reason for striving it becomes easy to feel lost. And when they are met with failure, they have no idea where to turn to. So they keep working and working, without realizing that they have no one to prove themselves to, that no one will be able to give them that sense of fulfillment. No one will be able to determine their sense of worth- no one, but themselves.

What’s wrong with being an overachiever? For one, it has become such a negative term; suggesting that anyone with this label is somehow both pretentious and pathetic. For another, it is hard to see yourself as one when seen in comparison to others here at Stony Brook. There’s the keyword -comparison. Whenever you feel a small sense of pride for accomplishing something, all you have to do is look over to your left and right to see that you are being surpassed on both sides. So even if your schedule is packed and you barely have any time left to yourself, there is still so much to be desired. Constantly you are questioning myself. Are you moving too fast or are you moving too slow? Because though you should be finding a sense of fulfillment in what you are accomplishing on a daily basis, you are instead bogged down by a sense of inadequacy.

I am tired, but terrified of taking a breath. Because if I take a breath then I’ll be wasting time that could be spent on catching up on work that I always seem to be behind on. In this race, I’m the hare. And though I shudder at the thought, I have begun to wonder, “how about being a turtle once in awhile?” It’s the simplest concept, but I hadn’t really thought of it as an option until an advisor told me that all it takes sometimes is half an hour. For that half an hour, worry about one thing and one thing only: yourself.

And sometimes you may need more than half an hour. Sometimes it takes a year, even more. As a peer advisor, I have had the fortunate opportunity to meet and hear the stories of several peer advisor alumni as well as advisors. Several have stressed this idea over and over. We have this belief that so long as we plan ahead, we will follow this direct path from A to B, straight to success. We couldn’t be further from the truth because there is no yellow brick road. Rather it is like a river that is ever-changing and unexpected. We choose whether or not we fight against the current and make our own decisions or let nature take us by force. Even if we go with the flow for now, we will always have the choice to change our lives in the future.

What is important is not finding the dream job or making it to first place, rather it is the finding of a purpose. Instead of thinking I want to be a lawyer, think I want to be the voice for those who are often silenced. Consider how many more doors are open with this new motivation. I can be a writer, a journalist, a singer even. The possibilities are endless. So until I find my own niche, I will try to take it slow every now and then. After all, slow and steady wins the race.

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