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Redefining success

Joshua Sonnenberg

On the day this is published, May 17, 2024, there are only four days left in every Grosse Pointe South senior’s high school career. After the three-day weekend thanks to senior skip day, there is only a Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, each day getting shorter as more finals wrap up. As seniors look back on these last four years, memories are riddled with nostalgia for both the good times and the bad, and anticipation builds for the steps to come.

Through the years that have been spent roaming these halls and dedicating so much time to our educational careers, we at The Tower are aware of the plethora of opportunities for school spirit and enthusiasm that present themselves throughout the year. The main event that students anticipate is homecoming week, which leads up to homecoming itself, and it’s hard to find a student not proudly representing their class on their designated spirit day. Post homecoming, however, it is much more difficult to encourage students to take part in spirited events. Apathy for these activities reigns supreme, and while it’s important to focus on school and strive for success, there are also plenty of chances to unite with classmates and show off school spirit during school-wide encouraged days such as Charity Week hosted by Student Association, or many of the spirit days hosted by individual classes.

We at The Tower believe that enthusiasm for fun things that present themselves throughout the year allows for much more excitement to cohabitate with the natural lack of enthusiasm that tends to accompany school. Enjoying the range of activities also allowed students to take a step back from constantly draining themselves of energy due to aiming for success.

Success is defined by Oxford Dictionaries as the accomplishment of an aim or purpose, and Merriam-Webster defines success as a favorable or desired outcome. Nowhere in either of these definitions is success shown to be something dependent on what other people expect or anticipate. While of course, each person should aim to do their best and be their best, that shouldn’t be compared to another person’s achievements. We at The Tower believe that goals shouldn’t be set based on what other people anticipate or want from an individual, rather what each individual wants for themselves and how they think their time would be most productively spent.

According to a study done by the American Psychological Association in 2018, between 1989 and 2016, the desire to meet expectations set by others raised 33 percent. Recent generations have developed a need to set their standards for themselves higher, but not out of their own want for self-fulfillment, rather to appease others and gain validation from peers. We at The Tower believe that as we move on to this next step in our lives and as our childhoods soon become a thing of the recent past, success shouldn’t hinge upon other people’s interpretations of it, especially when the definition of success has so much variance from person to person. A goal met for one person is bound to look completely different than that of another, and that is something to acknowledge and understand rather than ignore just for comparison’s sake.

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