A Make or Break Mentality

We always hear it. 'Make It Or Break It'. We either fully succeed at attempting something or ultimately it ends up ruining us. Living in New York, the break it or make it mentality is everywhere. Everyone is trying to reach the top and if they don't reach that top, it is chaos in their life. 'If I make it there I'll make it anywhere,' Sinatra sings. But, what exactly does 'making it' mean?

Graduating high school and moving on to college is tough. Moving to New York City is tough. Mixing the two together, now that is really rough. I fantasized about moving to New York, having a fantastic job, and enjoying everything this city has to offer. And while those dreams still linger in my mind, the reality is none of those things are happening the way I would want them to. My weekdays are filled with classes and if I'm not in class I'm likely in a lounge doing homework. On weeknights I cook, I shower and I go to bed. On weekends, it's a miracle if I leave my apartment building.

Having been here for a month I've been able to see the real side to college and the real side to New York City. College involves sacrifices, nearly perfect time management skills, and patience. New York City involves walking fast, sweating while you're walking (at least when it's hot, otherwise freezing while you're walking), and trying to find cheap fresh produce, which by the way is a rare thing up here. So, my first month in New York has not been what I dreamed of. It is not glamorous. Although, I do take wonderful walks by the water, New York has been fast-paced and stressful. The big apple has already chewed me up and spit me out more than once.

If my past mentality of 'make it or break it' had stayed with me in this first month in New York I would have already had a plane ticket bought back to Birmingham. Why? Because a break it or make it mentality does not give room for failure. In order to make it you often have to been broken down several times. In order to truly succeed, you have to be comfortable with failure and knowing that on the way to success you will face large struggles, you will want to quit, and you will want to choose the 'break it' option.

If living here for a month has taught me anything, and if going to college has taught me anything, it is that our failures don't define us unless we let them. What we consider a failure is only a failure if we do not take the opportunity to learn from it and grow. My first college paper was a bust, and I mean a big one. I was disappointed in myself and in the confidence I had that ultimately let me down. So, naturally, I cried. I was mad. I ever threw a mini pity party for myself of 5-minutes. And then, I moved on and focused on my next paper and how could I make it even better. There is much room for improvement, and that is the advantage. You can always strive to be better, and you can always strive for more.

In reality there is no final 'break' unless we consciously allow ourselves to get to the point where we are so broken we cannot continue. But, the beauty is no matter how much time it takes, no matter how difficult, and no matter how much we may doubt ourselves that we can get back up and fight even harder, we do it. We keep going in the strive to 'make it' and that is what is truly important here.

We 'make it' everyday. Just by getting up we begin to make it and when we put our head on our pillow we have made it through the day. Our accomplishments don't have to be massive. They don't have to be loud. Small victories often make up the large ones and it's time to start celebrating them in our lives.

Today, you've defeated the 'make or break' mentality for the number of days you have been alive. You have made it this far and can continue to make it even further. I believe in you. Keep on soaring and keep on dreaming friend.



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