How We Become Our Future Selves


In eleventh grade, students receive their college counselors and their mid-year grades around late January. Many summer program applications are open at this time as well. It can be a time of stress, lack of sleep, and overall self-doubt. We tend to forget about the parts of our lives that are more important than the prestige we want our future colleges to have.


Prestige is a noun, meaning “widespread respect and admiration felt for someone or something on the basis of a perception of their achievements or quality.” The key word to note in that definition is “perception.” That means that prestige is based on other’s views, which may not be entirely correct. Do not base your entire self worth on something that is as superficial as prestige. This is a difficult feat to accomplish in a world where it seems everything is centered around the rank of your future college. Selina Collier, a Middle School science teacher, once told me how to decide which college you attend and what you make of your education, regardless of its price or rank. You can do this through perfecting work ethic, deepening drive by deepening values, and letting life have a backbone that pushes and motivates. If people shape their ideals around their own values, they are much more likely to be content with their life.


Perception is subjective, so you shouldn’t blindly value others’ perceptions without full knowledge of whether or not they are grounded in reality. You should decipher if others perceptions of someone else are based on who they genuinely are, or on their reputation. The only way people can truly know the distinction between the truth and falsehood is if they question where their definition of success came from. If you value yourself merely through the lens of others, you should know that those perceptions are subject to change in an instant. Therefore, if you put our definition of success in the hands of our environment, there is always a chance that you will be left with nothing.