The high school girls I teach are stressed out about choosing a college. They can quote the acceptance rates of the “top” colleges, carry around ACT and SAT bibles, + have planned summer internship opportunities (in place of scooping ice cream or sailing or “just having fun”) because “they need to have a full résumé or they won’t get into college.”

Talking to them about their plans, words/phrases like “should,” “supposed to,” “they will think” litter their vernacular.

These girls aren’t excited about college. They’re STRESSED. They’re AFRAID of making the wrong choice. They’re afraid of FAILING.

They’re worried that they won’t get into their top choice and won’t reach whatever potential they’re supposed to reach.

Ask them what they REALLY want to do in life (instead of quoting off majors) and where they see themselves being the happiest, most authentic versions of themselves and their faces relax. They breathe. They smile and they talk fast. They have plans and dreams and hopes.

Why aren’t they hearing the message that they CAN reach their dreams AND have economic success (WITHOUT going to the “top” institutions)? Why aren’t they getting the message that it is okay (if not necessary) to FAIL.

Sure, the “top” institutions can lead to great networks and connections and world-renowned professors, but at the end of the day, I would argue that life is really about two things: scrappy perseverance and how a person treats another person.

At my tour of the NYSE today, one of the only women on the floor told me that she didn’t go to college. And she said that she felt bad saying that. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? This woman seriously rocked, is leading an incredibly exciting life, yet felt ashamed that she didn’t follow the typical path?

When it comes to choosing a career is there really a right path?

What do you think? How do you define success? What do you think life is about? Are you afraid of failing? Are you living a life of “shoulds”?

How do we get the next generation to believe in their innate strengths and abilities? How do we convince them that they WILL find happiness and lead fulfilling lives without the “top” degrees?

Feeling like my brain is all blended w questions and ideas today. Should probably make a real blend to chill out.


2 thoughts on “Preach

  1. Wow! Such good questions! I think success is measured by the lives we inspire in a positive way 🙂
    And the feeling of adequacy and happiness starts at home.

  2. Amen sister! This is appropriately named. People do want to do what they love but they also don’t want to miss out. It’s why imagination and delayed gratification are so important. You could imagine a future without the typical college path but it’s scary and there are more unknowns. Saving up now may give you the opportunity to do something great and extraordinary down the road. Love it!


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