‘Success’ can be defined more than one way

Carole Hodorowicz, Columnist

Being a second semester senior gives you access to a much-anticipated list of perks. Of all the items on that list, the best perk is the ability to fill your schedule with classes that you did not have the time or space for while trying to meet every requirement before achieving senior status. With the necessary credits secured, I decided to sign up for a creative writing class (yes, I am one of those people who enjoys taking writing and reading intensive courses for fun, too). 

During our most recent class, we read and discussed a piece that left us with the following message: surviving and sticking around is still success. 

Success is a word we most commonly associate with celebrities, athletes, CEOs … the list goes on. Their money and notoriety support their claim on this word and become our qualifications to award this word to anyone—including ourselves.

My professor asked us if we thought this was true: Is someone successful for surviving and sticking around? Or does success call for something greater?

The definition of success is not so black and white. It falls into a grey area. However, the best part about the grey area is we, as individuals, have the power to decide for ourselves.

For me, success is something we all define on our own that reflects who we are and where we are in that moment of time. 

Like humans, this definition evolves. 

At this point in my life, I define success as juggling classes, working several jobs both on and off campus, participating in several organizations and maintaining close relationships with loved ones I have met here and still have in Chicago while still getting sleep. I define success as picking up extra shifts and paying for my rent and utilities on time and on my own. I define success as receiving an email from someone about one of my columns, whether it is positive or negative, because I know someone took the time to read my words, reflect on them and share their own with me. 

In these instances, I am doing what I need to do in order to stick around. These may be small victories, but they feel pretty damn good. 

And once again, at this point in my life, that is what success is to me: the small victories.

Months from now that definition will change as I search for job. And it will keep on changing with each new problem, requirement, opportunity and chance I encounter in my life. For me, surviving—and doing it well—is all I need to feel like I’m succeeding. 

Carole Hodorowicz is a senior journalism major. She can be reached at 581-2182 or at [email protected].