Success [suh k-ses]
1. The favorable or prosperous termination of attempts or endeavors.
>2. The attainment of wealth, position, honors, or the like.
3. A successful performance or achievement.
4. A person or thing that is successful.
From the time we are born to the time we die, society places an emphasis on the first two dictionary-given definitions of success. Be prosperous. Get wealth, position, honors, the whole nine yards. Even number three implies that one must do something right. The average American is successful when they’ve got money and the white picket fence house with their dog and two kids. But why does this have to constitute success for the average American? Why does society place such a huge importance on putting yourself out there to succeed? “Ignore your passions and do the thing that’ll get you money.”
Maybe your way to define success is being wealthy. To each their own. But that’s not my view of success. Being wealthy will never equal success for me. Maybe I did something right- I was successful in something- and wealth comes with that specific success. This is going to be something rare in my life, I think. Wealth accompanying success. Personally, I know I’m successful when I get a good feeling and I can see it on other people’s faces. I’ve accepted that I’m not going to be filthy rich in my career. I want to be a teacher. A language teacher. Languages are fascinating. My success will be seeing the appreciation on students’ faces when something clicks in their mind regarding language. I don’t need physical reward. My success comes from making in the lives of others.
My success comes from knowing I did my best, even if I failed. I learned something regarding the experience, regardless succeed or fail. I have to be happy with myself to be successful. By this point in my life, I’ve realized that trying to please other people means next to nothing if you’re not happy yourself. You can be successful to other people, but what does it to you? I learned this the hard way. I was successful in school. Almost straight A’s, honors and AP classes, scholarships for college, president of a club, secretary in another, leader in my major. Others looked up to me. But I wasn’t happy with myself. The only time I was really happy was that one club where I was president, because it was a club that I was passionate about, and when I helped change it, I felt successful. My major was another example of when I was successful. My grades showed I was successful, but I knew I was because I was learning Japanese. I knew I was going to be successful because I learned a language. That was one of my goals.
Knowing I did my best with the circumstances given to me is success. Right now, in a high school in downtown Las Vegas, Nevada, the language majors are being cut from that school and placed in another. The reason? Languages are not an art. This liberal arts school, Las Vegas Academy of International Studies and Performing Arts, doesn’t think language is an art. That’s shame. I think language is an art. When my friends who are a language major told the world about what they’re doing to the language program at this school, I am going to admit I initially thought, “Okay, who cares. It’s the school board, the principal, and the language teachers who came to this decision. Not unanimous, but it must’ve been a majority. We can’t do anything. Their minds are made up.”
But the more I thought about it and the longer I remained on facebook, seeing my friends become passionate, I gave myself a well-deserved mental slap in the face. That program made me into who I am. It pointed me in the direction I wanted to go, and it was doing that to my friends. If I didn’t fight for this, I was putting down what made me think is my success. The language majors inspired and continue to inspire students- the very thing I want to do. So I decided to fight for my major.
My honest opinion on the above matter is this: There is very little chance of changing the school district’s mind. They seem absolutely sure. However, this isn’t the first time the language majors have come under attack. There is a possibility the decision can be reversed if we ask parents to express how important language is, ask alumni to write about how important the major has been to them, and to ask current language students to speak about how language is life for them. The school’s line is “It’s not just a major, it’s a way of life!” What right do they have to say our way of life isn’t legitimate? So long as that possibility exists, I’m going to fight for that major, so it can continue to do what I want to one day do. Whether or not this effort succeeds matters, but I know that I tried and I was successful in fighting for something that was important.
Success isn’t about money or physical property. Personally, success is feeling happy with myself and knowing I made a difference in the lives of others. It doesn’t have to be in a big way. It can be small. I know that I’m successful when I am content with myself. I did something right, and that’s all that matters.