This was a post I wrote last November and never published because it seemed to add little to the age-old question, but in retrospect, and at the beginning of a very busy semester, I think it is an appropriate time to ask some questions like these:
A couple of interesting conversations I've had this weekend have prompted me to really reconsider what I personally define as success, for myself. I think that sometimes what's easiest to say and what sounds good or right is not really what we feel inside: though I may say, and truly want to believe, and sometimes do believe, that I am comfortable with my academics being less than stellar because I have chosen to spend my time here in other ways, I know that a little part of me is disappointed whenever I see my transcript and wonders if I have sacrificed or compromised my future goals in some way for something I can't even put my finger on. I think this is true for many who enjoy their academics, but feel that their devotion to other causes, which may be equally or more important to them, make it impossible to learn and perform as they know they could.
So. How do you define success? How should we define success at Harvard? Do we lie to ourselves on the surface to relieve the stress or burden we may feel to do something big or achieve a certain level or result or make change, but by denying what we feel inside, do we do ourselves greater injury? Is it possible to turn an entire college of overachieving do-it-alls into satisfied and occasionally mediocre people? ...how?