The one thing I do miss about high school is how easy achievement could be reached. Relatively speaking of course. With the abundance of clubs that had some sort of competition, winning (and losing), was within reach. Recently, I’ve had trouble coming to terms with my lack of a trophy case.
My accomplishments in high school were at most knowledgeable, but at least tangible. Yea, I may have won a few trophies for my marching band as drum major, but they weren’t a personal victory. Without the band I would be a weirdo waving his hands towards an empty field. Of course, winning an award for best drum major(s) is a grand achievement. It signals that I was the most disciplined one in the competition. I feel it would be selfish of me to say that those trophies belong to me, because I am just the orchestrator of a complex machine.
I may have made an impact in young lives back when I was a junior some seven years ago, when I was an teacher’s assistant. This brilliant plan to introduce me to birth control at an early age was concocted by my best-friend at the time. We joined Future Teachers of America (FTA) because the club’s sponsor was also our Forensics coach. (More on that in a bit.) She needed more people to join, so we did. While I didn’t get the teaching bug, I sure got the fatherly pinch from it.
My final claim to fame is Forensics. There are multiple categories, Dramatic Interpretation, Humorous Interpretation, Extemporaneous Speaking, and a few others which I forget. The first two categories are either performed solo or duo. My best-friend that I previously mentioned was part of my duo team. We chose dramatic pieces as they spoke to our true natures. While we never made it past district meets, this was one of the highlights of my high school career. But, I have nothing to show for it than a dusty black binder. Cast away and forgotten, like most of my accomplishments.
All these achievements can be deemed decent, but to me; they’ll never match up to the multiple awards, trophies, ribbons, letters, I could have if I pushed harder.
But it’s too late for that now. Here’s what I realized:
Achievement isn’t easily reached in college; the “real world”. It takes more than just standing out and being good at what you do. Now there’s hundreds of other people just like you. Not only is it different, but what you accomplish is measured against a new set of standards. Anything you accomplish in college for a sport, club, or organization will be subject to scrutiny. As influence plays a big role in any legacy you decide to create. Not only are you creating a name for yourself, you are also in the shadow of those who’ve left their mark. Your niche, while personally significant, will hold bigger implications on your organization as a whole. Take it from a past fraternity President.
From here on out, I will respect my past as a part of myself that paved the way for me to become who I am today. And to belittle them for the lack of recognition, public or private, is immature. As long as I am alive and well, with great friends and family; filled with this new-found respect for myself- that’s all I need. No need for me to hunt trophies. So what’s the rush?
I will no longer dwell on the shoulda, woulda, coulda.