Sometimes when I’m walking on campus a feeling of gratitude overwhelms me as I soak in the my surroundings. A series of questions and thoughts, the same each time, run through my mind. How fortunate am I to be able to attend the university of my choice or better yet at all? What are the odds that I was born into a situation in which I am presented so many opportunities and luxuries that some, perhaps more deserving, cannot afford? There is a feeling of indescribable guilt that brews inside of me whenever I take my opportunities and luxuries for granted, which I try my best not to do. I guess the price I pay is pressure. Pressure to do well, pressure to succeed with the fear of disappointment looming over me hoping that I won’t. But then it leads me to wonder what the true definition of success is. Success to one person may be failure to another. What if my definition of success is my loved ones’ definition of failure? Some people would scoff and say who cares what people think but as children aren’t we somewhat reared to please others or gain approval? Many dreams are undoubtedly crushed or pushed under the rug as a result of us trying to please others. Or maybe we follow society’s perception of what we are “supposed” to be doing at each stage of our lives. We’re supposed to go to college. We’re supposed to graduate with a respectable degree. We live in a world where a conversation consisting of asking someone what their major is results in some kind of competition. But that is our culture and reality. The odds of being successful and not going to college in today’s economy is slim. Of course there are those who go against the mold but that can’t be said for the masses. Some might be happy doing what they love but struggle to get by in the world today. Some might loathe what they do but be financially comfortable. Then there are the select few who get the best of both worlds. What are they doing right? I laugh at myself because I asked as if there is some formula for success and happiness. They say that freeing yourself of others’ scrutiny is the key to living a good life yet in today’s society there is so much criticism and backlash against virtually anything someone does that it becomes very difficult to truly disregard other peoples’ opinions. Although I realize this I am human and tend to also criticize. It is a quality that I am not proud of but I am definitely not alone. So my question is this. Can you truly follow your heart and be completely satisfied with your decisions while knowing that others around you, including your loved ones, are constantly judging and criticizing your every move?