Creating luck for yourself

Photo courtesy of Morgan Whittemore

Ever since I was little, I have never had trouble finding a four-leaf clover in a patch of grass. 

Within a few minutes, I could always pluck one out of the uniformity of other clovers, and eventually I would surrender any ones I found to those around me to spread a little luck. 

In addition to finding four-leaf clovers, I would be a menace at card games I barely knew how to play — I’m still at a net positive from times I’ve bought scratchers and I’ve never broken a bone. 

Essentially, I’ve always been a pretty lucky person, and I was fine knowingly taking this for granted. However, I do know that I am very privileged in many parts of my life. 

Certain things come easier to me not because of some innate sense of luck or any deterministic efforts, but because of other beneficial factors outside of my control. 

I am extremely thankful for these things that I may take for granted at times, but this story is about the things I do have control over and how I made use of them. When I came to Tech, my good fortunes continued. 

From quickly making friends to always getting an ideal class schedule, my luck sustained my experience in the first couple of years of college. 

I thought there was no problem at all with just being happy-go-lucky, positive and taking each experience as it came.

As you may expect, eventually my luck seemed to sour. Towards my fourth semester of college I started to find the things I previously relied upon failing me. 

My classes suddenly got harder and my previous study strategies couldn’t keep up. 

My main friend group got busy and had less time to hang out and a breakup left me without a large part of my support system. 

Suddenly, every little thing I had taken for granted, things I still had an influence on, were going the wrong way. 

The worst part was that I just let them. I believed so strongly that things would fix themselves, as luck would have it, and I didn’t need to do anything to help myself. 

Eventually, I realized some lucky rabbit’s foot would not appear and restore things to their previous manner; I had to fix things myself. 

I stopped relying on luck and planned out how I was going to improve in areas that had been lacking. 

I developed new strategies for studying, reached out to and made new friends and tried to be more intentional about my life in general. I soon found myself comfortable with my life at Tech not because of what I happened to find and experience, but from what I sought out. 

Finding or creating opportunities for myself to grow, academically, socially or professionally, paid off in spades. 

I began to find my previous contentment in life again, but this time I had done the work to actually earn it. 

While I could wake up feeling like the luckiest woman alive, I also felt like the most accomplished woman alive. 

I kept moving forward, making small bets to increase my success in many areas of my life and seemingly winning the lottery with each one. 

Things were, and still are, going well, viewing luck not as something to stumble upon, but to create opportunities for. 

Putting in effort to get in position for a lucky break, whether it occurs or not, has given me great experiences and lessons in college. 

As I’ve approached the end of my time at the Institute I’ve worried how my luck outside of school will go. 

Will I like the new place I’m living in? Will my job be exciting and fulfilling? 

How will life be as a real, functioning adult? Whatever may happen, I know that I’ve grown to overcome many challenges that have come my way. I will be able to prevail over any opposition I might have to face.

Maybe I’ll always have an innate edge spotting that lucky clover in a patch of grass. 

However, I now know to seek out that grass on my own rather than waiting year after year to stumble upon it.