Losing perspective on importance
Some time ago, a poem on YouTube called "Lost Generation" stole the attention of hundreds of thousands of viewers. For anyone who is unfamiliar with the video, at first glance it is a poem about the sad state of our generation's values. When recited backwards, however, the poem offers a message of hope. This hope, though, depends on our realization that the first reading is an unfortunate but true description of our generation.
As part of Campus Crusade's QuEST week, I recently surveyed a number of University students with questions concerning spirituality. And even though the sample is nowhere near large enough to be considered significant, I cannot help but fear that it is representative of our generation.
When asked, "What is the most important thing in your life right now?" five out of seven students said "school." Only one replied with "family" and another said "health." Many, if not most of us, can empathize with those five students who said that school was their top priority. We would like to believe that things like family, friends, happiness or being a "good" person are what matter most to us. But a simple question and a brief moment of self-reflection force us to confess the answers we wish were not true.
Somewhere in the past few decades, we lost sight of what matters in life. We have been brainwashed into believing that success is all that really matters. The problem is not that we overvalue success, but we have equated success with all the wrong things — high GPAs, multiple, unnecessary academic degrees and generous paychecks. There is a plethora of self-help books with advice on how to be successful. Most of them offer principles to help you climb the corporate ladder and accrue a massive sum of money, most of which you will likely fail to spend before you take your last breath.
And while financial security is a desirable accomplishment, our investments should not rest solely in finances — especially considering the recent economic collapse. Instead, we all need to remember to invest in the people around us, even if that means fewer hours of studying for an exam you do not feel prepared for. After all, no one will remember you for the splendor of your house or the size of your savings account. No one is going to marvel at your GPA when you are gone. We are remembered for who we were, not for what we accomplished. No one captures this sentiment better than Albert Pine, who stated, "What we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for others and the world remains and is immortal."
Rebecca Yu is a Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy first-year student.