As students, we come to a crossroads quite often. Contemplating whether to spend more time on academics or extracurricular activities, choosing between internships, deciding between industries – oftentimes, it seems like even the smallest of steps can send us down a different path. Every decision is multi-faceted; compromise quickly becomes unavoidable. When decision fatigue sets in, it’s easy to begin second-guessing ourselves. Are we compromising too much or too little? Are we taking the right steps? What if the decisions of yesterday prevent tomorrow’s opportunities? At those moments, we can look to the powerful words of author Elaine Maxwell.
“My will shall shape the future. Whether I fail or succeed shall be no one’s doing but my own. I am the force. I can clear any obstacle before me or I can be lost in the maze. My choice. My responsibility. Win or lose; only I hold the key to my destiny.”
On the surface, Mrs. Maxwell appears to be speaking more to personal philosophy than opportunity cost. Upon second glance, however, we come to understand that she is addressing the underlying problem. Internalizing a driving attitude of focus and motivation is far more important than every individual move. The maze she speaks about can be understood as the complexities of daily life, whether they are classes, club, or career worries. We can get so caught up with navigating the maze that we lose sight of our end goal. Your own personal vision – one that you have created, are refining, and strive towards – should be what propels you forward.
I want to challenge Leading Ladies readers to do two things. First, write down a paragraph summary of your vision for your own life. Make sure that everything in those few sentences is driven by what you feel passionate about. Everyone has different values and strengths; business is a common interest that joins us, but it does not define us. Second, categorize the major parts of your life – your major, on-campus activities, work opportunities, etc. Time is your most precious resource. Going forward, ensure that you are allocating it towards areas that drive your own vision forward.
University of Pennsylvania