"Is money the measure of success?"
The Gensler Group awards Coronado High School Senior $500 Scholarship
Coronado High School senior, Catherine Siefert was awarded a $500 scholarship for her essay answering the question "Is money the measure of Success?" Catherine plans to attend Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington this fall. Here is Catherine’s winning essay:
Success. Since an early age we have been preparing, studying, dreaming. We have been coached, encouraged, and guided toward what those around us believe to be a successful life. However, the definitions of success vary greatly. Some believe it to be a generous salary, others a life of family and friends, and still others a calling to philanthropy. It can, and forever will be, anxiety provoking to face the choices that determine our future.
As a graduating senior, I have had moments of trepidation as I consider what is expected of me, and more importantly what I expect of myself. These two do not always coincide. None of us wants to be a failure, especially with the hopes and expectations of others so heavy upon our shoulders. We want to impress, satisfy, and inspire, but it is imperative that we do not allow others' concepts of success to overshadow our own. The greatest failure of all would be conforming to something we do not find compelling or fulfilling. Success should not have a universal definition; rather it should be an entirely individualized measurement of achievement.
As we evaluate society's perception of success, we often see a recurring trend where money seems to be the primary measurement. This should not be surprising because money is one of the most tangible versions of success. However, we need to remember that money and a happy and fulfilling life are not inextricably linked. One does not always lead to the other. On the other hand they are not mutually exclusive. Money can provide many life-enhancing benefits, such as a safe and beautiful home, education, and opportunities to travel. Many people's definition of success is a blend of both financial stability and other achievements.
Throughout our life we constantly should be reflecting, analyzing, and adjusting our personal standards of success. It is never too early or too late to define (or redefine) what we consider to be a life of gratification and happiness. Just as humans are multifaceted and complex, so too will be our personal definitions of success. They may include a substantial salary, they may include a noteworthy contribution to medicine or science, or they may even include an Olympic medal. It is necessary for us to remind ourselves, and one another, that there is no one right path. There is no universal formula, there is no proven theory, and there is no perception that is mistaken or misguided. A life lived to our distinct and unique ideals, is a successful life.
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