Everyone wants validation

October 01 2015

In high school, I felt like I ruled the world. I excelled in academics and was president of clubs. I felt like I was the shit. A couple years later in college, though, professors no longer praised me for my work and I felt unintelligent compared to my peers. I know longer knew the answer to all the questions asked in class and everyone was a club president in high school. It felt like they knew everything and had already figured out their path, and I was still struggling to find out who I was and what I wanted to do with my life. I went from feeling like the shit to feeling like shit.

I soon started to compare myself to other people. And I wanted to better myself, not for the sake of my own growth and development, but for the sake of simply being better than others. I soon found myself constantly worrying that I was falling behind and would not be able to catch up. I remember thinking, at times, my friend already has an internship at X prestigious firm, why don’t I? What am I doing wrong?

Eventually, that negative way of thinking drained the positive energy out of me and I knew I had to make some fundamental changes to my attitude. After listening to Ted talks and researching, I decided to slow down and listen to my heart and intuition more. I have always known to make sure I listen and learn from others, but until that point I never realized that I should listen to my heart and understand what I truly want from life. Instead of participating in clubs that look good on a resume, I now participate in activities that I truly enjoy and I know I can add value to. Now when I take classes, I don’t beat myself up for not knowing the answer, but try to learn and gather knowledge to deepen my understanding

When I told some of my close friends my realization, after the initial eye-roll, they questioned whether I was going to lose my edge or Type-A personality; but in many ways I feel like I have enhanced my ability to focus and reach my goals. By not worrying about what other people think or are doing, I am able to channel all my energy on matters I find important. Now I focus only on what I can control and what I believe will move me closer to what I want, both professionally and personally, to achieve in life.

Talking to my friends and peers, I came to realize this experience wasn’t an anomaly but rather a process many people go through. Often times, we feel alone in this world, opening up honestly about ourselves allows us to find the people who have experienced the same obstacles and who are willing to support us. I learned that my development is part of the journey of life.

Now, as a senior in college, I feel like I am more prepared to embark on the next phase of this journey.

I like connecting with people, so feel free to reach out!

Suneil Kamath
[email protected]
Cleveland, Ohio

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