One of the problems about going to a big-name university like MIT is that it comes with an expectation that you will do Great Things. Whether or not the people around you are saying that, you internalize those expectations from our society. From the day you graduate, you judge yourself based on those external expectations.
People feel stuck in the rat-race, obligated to “succeed.” It feels like a “waste” if you don’t end up using that degree. If you change careers, or become a stay-at-home parent, or want to work part-time, you feel like you’re letting people down.
It is freeing to realize that that’s not you; that you always have the ability to choose, and that no part of your journey is ever wasted. You’ve done what you’ve done, and it made you who you are. You have no obligation to the past, only to yourself and your own true direction.
Also, there are many ways to do great things, and they don’t all involve fancy titles and big salaries. Contributing to your community is the true embodiment of doing Great Things. We are fed misconceptions that Great People chase “success” as defined by fame and fortune.
But the actual ways to be happy are simple:
- Love and help others.
- Create things that bring you joy.
- Love yourself and see yourself grow.
These are the true meaning of life.