The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

GUEST: An open challenge to admit your failures

(John Russell)

The problem on our campus is that everyone here is just too wonderful. The fact is, there is someone here who is better than you at everything, and without effort. And while they’re being better than you, they’re also double majoring in chemical and biomedical engineering, studying abroad and simultaneously feeding 2,000 starving children at a food bank in Tanzania.

As for you, the past two weeks have been hell. You got declined from that internship you really wanted. You got a C on a test you stayed up all night studying for. Also, all your friends partied without you (that Thursday night while you were studying). Now you find yourself questioning every choice you’ve made since you got to college. The worst part? You didn’t tell anyone.You mentally screamed for mercy all while smiling in public.

Our problem: we don’t want anyone to see us struggle. What do we do then, if we don’t put our feelings and failures out in the open for others to identity with? We instead bottle them up, giving them agency to grow slowly and devour our sanity. We bottle them up because we go to the happiest school in the nation and must keep up appearances. We bottle them up to evade weakness, afraid that this weakness will scare off the friends we work so desperately to hold on to. And at what price does our bottling come? It comes with the isolation, insecurity and depression of our fellow students and ourselves.

So Vanderbilt, my challenge to you: uncork that bottle and let your story pour out. Here, I’ll go first.

My name is Andrew Brodsky, and I’m a first-year student, currently double majoring in HOD and communication studies. Of course, that’s my spiel to people because I don’t want to admit that over the past semester, I’ve actually changed majors 17 times, twice entertained the idea of dropping out (once to be a florist, the other to be a cab driver in New York) and had four different mental breakdowns because I seriously have no idea what I’m doing with my life.

I’ve been to several appointments with the PCC; I’ve cried, alone, in my bed for 10 minutes straight  because I simply looked at the PCC website to make an appointment, thought about all of the negative stigma associated with it and convinced myself that there was something wrong with me because no one else I knew had to go there.

I’m in the alternate pool to be an RA, I applied to be on Honor Council but didn’t even get an interview, and was rejected from ‘Dore for a Day and, more recently, Tour Guides. In September, I auditioned for the Melodores. I guess I was especially forgettable, though, because they forgot to send my letter of rejection until two weeks after they announced who had made it.

I barely made a C in Chem 102 last semester and withdrew from Math 150 because apparently I’m not nearly as good at those subjects as high school had led me to believe. But I still have to constantly placate myself, because I’m still awesome and proud of what I’ve experienced, and everyone I know goes through those exact same struggles.

Well, that’s it. That’s me. The metaphorical ball is in your court now, Vandy. I’ve shown you mine, now you show me yours.

Swallow your pride, Vandy. Step out from your facade of felicity and expose the insecurities and doubts and worries that keep you up at night. Display them proudly, like the battle scars they are, and not like the mortal wounds you perceive them to be. Don’t let these so-called failures and deficiencies tear you down in silent solitude. It will be a comfort to many to know that they aren’t facing these issues alone. Take this challenge, Vanderbilt, and not only will we overcome this plague of perfection pervading our student body, but maybe, just maybe, we will actually be the happiest school in the country.

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About the Contributor
Sarah Friedman, Former Editor in Chief

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