A few weeks ago I was browsing through a popular social media website when I came across a well known nurse influencer reflecting on his achievements in the past year. He was expressing his gratitude on finally achieving his Associate Degree in Nursing and in the same breath he was encouraging others to go after their dreams and to never give up. I was genuinely happy for him and I too was motivated by his accomplishments. As I scanned through the comments section I realized that he had the same effect on a lot of persons. Many congratulated him and wished him continued success with his nursing journey. I continued with my scrolling and I came across someone who commented ” I thought you already gotten your BSN, congrats though”. Now to be honest this struck a nerve in me. I had several mixed emotions just going off simultaneously. Here we had a nurse being happy with his journey and had others celebrating with him then here comes “Negative Nancy” trying to down play his success. Why do people think that because you do not follow society’s “undocumented traditional rules” makes you unsuccessful?
Unfortunately this is the reality, especially in today’s society when the magnitude of an individual’s success is often measured by the depth of his or her educational qualifications or other material possessions. Society has caused so many of us to continually put a time frame on our goals or dreams and if we do not achieve them in that given time frame it makes us feel less than enough. Many of us were programmed in such a way to follow a routine and any deviation from that may cause you to be frowned upon. It was go to high school then college then university, land that dream job, meet the love of your life, get married, purchase the dream home with the white picket fence, get the pet dog, have four kids and live happily ever after. If one happened to not fit in anywhere along this continuum best believe that he or she may face some harsh criticisms.
In 2006 I graduated from high school. After high school I wanted to go to a local school of nursing but I was not accepted at the time because I was too young. Yes, I was crushed but I decided that I would get a job and work for a year or two and then reapply to the nursing school. I told my mother about my plans and let’s say that she was adamant that I should go to the local community college and pursue another discipline because that was simply the order of things (even though deep down I was not interested). Anyway, I applied to the college and I told my interviewer how much I loved law just so I could in (lol don’t follow me) ; just to make my mother happy. So you can say that at the time I was living her dream and not mine. Trying to please her and not myself. Trying to make her happy and not me. We have to understand that everyone’s journey is DIFFERENT. You do not have to follow mainstream society standards. Not everyone will obtain a high school diploma at sixteen; after high school not everyone will go straight to college or university to get that degree; not everyone will get married before having kids. Does that make you a failure? Of course not! Choose the path that suits you and make you happy. Following society’s so called rules will cause you to end up living everyone’s dreams except yours.
Instead of being bullies and down play another person success we should make conscious efforts to celebrate each other even if it does not fit your criteria or society’s standards. Let us not use our personal definitions of what success is to validate the other individual’s worth.
“Trust your own instincts, go inside, follow your heart right from the start. Go ahead and stand up for what you believe in. As I’ve learned, that’s the path to happiness”. Lesley Ann Warren.