Tag Archives: ambition

Ambition’s Shadow

When I was in high school, I wore my MIT sweatshirt on the day of important exams– SATs, ACTs, APs, and Honors Physics.

I considered it the academic equivalent of the guys who do pushups every time the football team scores and the girls with their boyfriends’ numbers painted on their tank tops and faces.

On one hand, for nerds like myself, I suppose this is terribly arrogant behavior.  Wearing the MIT sweatshirt on the steps outside Southside High School meant something.   Clustered among a small group of overachievers, all of us nervously clutching our graphing calculators and car keys, the sweatshirt served as nonverbal intimidation– to the SAT, to my friends, but mostly to myself, as it was a willful proclamation that I was good enough for that kind of school.

Because everything rode on getting into that kind of school.

It really did help though.  Not in some crazy good luck charm kinda way, but in a real way.  It was a visual way of saying what I believed I was capable of.  That’s a mindset shift, and while the intimidation end of it might have been a little intense, the starting premise was good.

Yesterday, I read about a girl who, as an entry-level analyst, courted a major new client for Merrill Lynch when she was 22.  By the time she was 25, she was COO of an industry revolutionizing activewear company in Sweden.   Suddenly, I felt like such a major underachiever, but not in a green-headed jealous kind of way.

I kept reading and nearly every story I came across, I was like “Shoot, I could do that,” “I’d make that decision,” or “OOhhh, for the opportunity.”  In some cases, I was like, “I’ve done that already.” 

Yesterday, I wore a pair of pointed-toe, bright red, patent leather stilettos.  I’d literally been searching for this particular pair of shoes for seven years, and I finally found them about a month ago.

Granted, I went by myself and no where important, but the shoes still fit a little bit like my old MIT sweatshirt.

The only difference between then in now is that there’s no admissions counselor standing in the way.  I’ve “arrived” and am free to do whatever I like; I just need a platform to do it.

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Color-Coded Accompaniments: Tori’s Map to Law School

I made it tonight.  That list. The big one. The one with percentiles, LSAT scores, and GPAs, all broken up by geographic region of the country.  The bulleted list of everything I have to do for every season between now and winter 2013, including number of study hours per week, test dates, and times to research schools too.  I charted my current academic benchmarks and goals, and it hangs to the left of the agenda just to serve as reminder of all that I have to do to get where I want to go.

I do realize that I openly stating this online, I am admitting that I am in fact 100% geek, but I have no problem owning up to that.  My little color-coded charts might just be enough to label me a nut, but it’s like this.  It’s the only way I know how to handle it.

It– the pressure.  I’m yet to start my junior year, and I already feel as though I am out of time.  The summer’s half over, and while it is a great honor, I’ve committed myself to several hefty additions to my reading list by participating the Intercollegiate Studies Institute’s Honor’s Program. In August, it’s off to Spain.  When I get back, I’ll be devoting myself to putting together a conservative lecture series for the fall of 2012.  Wesleyan might not be abundant with folks of my political persuasion, but I’m not going to leave without having done everything in my power to express my thoughts to my peers.  That’s been an up and down adventure, but I want to leave having done it right.  My mind has been spinning with senior thesis topics since I was a freshman, and you can bet that I’ll soon be completely sold out to some micro-specific topic that almost no one else will have any interest in at all, but I’ll get a total kick out of it.

My crazy charts and lists are there to prove that the fear that I will not have time to prepare for the LSAT ever becomes a realization.  It’s there to prove that while I might not be sleeping, I’m not sleeping with purpose.  And I think that makes all the difference in the world.