Column: What is success? Only you can define it for yourself

Gillian Eubanks

Many of us are in school for essentially the same reason. We all hope that the bachelor’s, master’s or even doctorate degrees that we are working towards will provide a better future for us.

There’s an extreme amount of pressure we all face as college students. This pressure comes from family, peers, social media and society. There is pressure to find the right field to be in, to graduate and find the job of your dreams.

We all have at least one thing in common, the want and need for success. But what is success? Is it name-brand materialistic items? Is success owning a nice home? Is success climbing the corporate ladder?

Success looks different on everybody. Someone who is an elite is obviously going to consider themselves successful. Just as well, an average person who has worked to provide for their family may consider themselves successful.

Why is this? This is because everyone has different needs, wants, dreams and purposes. This creates a different definition of success to everybody. Unfortunately, success is largely influenced by our society and social media.

Society and social media are obsessed with what we deem as successful people. If you were to go onto your own social media feed right now, you could find at least three people that you think are more successful than you. It doesn’t mean it’s true though.

We are also obsessed with “making it” by a certain age, like by the age of 25-30, if you aren’t a fully functioning and active member of society, you’re just doing everything wrong. Again, this isn’t true. This is just a weird “rule” society has tried to implant in our minds.

There are plenty of other rules that somehow have become a way to measure someone’s worth based on how successful they are. There are so many unrealistic expectations that we not only put on ourselves, but the entire world puts on us. Stop trying to live by these rules and these expectations because you are going to burn yourself out.

Understand that you really don’t have to live up to any expectations in order to be considered worthy of success. You’re worthy without them. Success is really what you make of it. Start by asking yourself how you would define success for yourself.

Determine what would make you happy in this life. Remember to go easy on yourself when you’re having an existential crisis because you don’t know if you’ll ever be successful. You will get there when you are meant to be there.


Gillian Eubanks junior health communications major. She can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]