Live for yourself: Facing the imperfections of life

Living for yourself is one of the hardest choices a person can make. With all the expectations from family and oneself partnered with the stress of being the best in every class, there are few moments of excitement.

Everything at Tech appears as a competition, so naturally students see each other as adversaries. The toxicity that flows in this environment is what drives mental health to the floor. Students face constant stress to compare themselves in every way. I was never going to be the smartest person in the room, but that was not my goal.

Instead of powering through with a STEM degree that would undoubtedly land me a high-paying position with society’s respect, I chose passion over status and enrolled in Tech’s LMC program. Very few things are certain, but the importance of dedication within this field is one. LMC is one of the only self-led programs within Tech. They offer a wide range of courses, but in my freshman and sophomore years, little direction on where the degree could lead. While there has been a strong push towards securing LMC speakers and events, the program is a largely independent one. In this struggle and exploration, however, comes a breadth of possibilities that few other majors can compare to. 

A common misconception of our program, which carries over into almost every introduction on campus, is the belief that students in the LMC program are less smart or capable than the rest of the students at Tech. Seeing as each student got accepted just the same, it is always baffling when the competitive nature reveals itself in a conversation through condescending tones and outright disrespect. 

Having been accepted to Tech as a CS major and then switching into LMC, I can easily say I would rather do what I love almost every second of the day than suffer through a program I have no passion or enjoyment in. I am a storyteller. Having the chance to build stories in scriptwriting, creative writing, film and 3D animation are why I stay with this major. The jobs LMC allows and the flexibility of positions and fields the degree applies to is greater than most know. It just takes believing in yourself and being bold to find the amazing possibilities.

All of my greatest memories result from taking a chance and just enjoying life. Whether running around campus in Godzilla and Kong suits with my friend to interning with the most random companies, happiness truly does come from saying “yes” to the little moments. Late-night Cookout runs, last-minute Sweet Hut trips and even a relaxing night in watching your favorite show are all small choices that provide the biggest smiles. Take away the fear of judgment and the fear of missing out. It is impossible for everyone to be your fan. Only you know yourself, so why not build experiences rather than miss out because of fear?

Nothing will ever be perfect, and even if something is, it rarely stays that way. You are constantly changing and that is what is beautiful. But beauty comes in the good and the bad. Every achievement will seem thrown off with every misstep, but it is in those mistakes and those failures that you learn who you are. Even in the moments filled with pain and betrayal caused by someone other than yourself, there is a way through.

Let go. Some of the greatest missteps you will face, in school or work or in relationships, stem from believing your worth comes from perfection. Perfection is an unattainable expectation that ensures disappointment. People will hurt you and break your trust. Your relationship may reveal that you deserve better than someone who cannot give the bare minimum. A breakup may show you how toxic your partner really was or how terribly they treated you behind closed doors. A presentation fumble may highlight a skill for you to practice. A project blunder may direct you towards your dream career. Some of the most beautiful revelations about yourself come from how you pivot in the face of struggle, whether mental or otherwise. These moments create opportunities for you to achieve something even greater.

I rediscovered my enjoyment in media and journalism this semester. While the semester began in the most painful of ways, that moment allowed me the freedom to dream without a burden of settling. 

That struggle gave me the opportunity to become more deeply dedicated to journalism, and allowed me to interview and meet celebrities I never could have dreamed of. My involvement with the Technique came spur-of-the-moment, but it remains my happiest decision. 

Find what makes you happy. Nourish it. Take that outlet and turn it into something bigger. It will never be too late to change your path or your passion.