College, like the Olympics, lets us go for the gold

By Brandon Desiderio
August 27, 2012

It’s no joke that some of the most engaging aspects of the 2012 Summer Olympics were the memes.

From the memorable face of disbelief that British track star Mo Farah made after he won the 5,000-meter final, to the viral “McKayla is not impressed” meme that poked fun at the disappointed face of American gymnast McKayla Maroney, the Olympics were, at times, best viewed from the lens of a Twitter feed or meme generator – especially for Americans, who could either brave the cyber frontier or be subject to five-hour delayed coverage à la NBC.

But what Maroney herself stood for became something more everlasting than one Olympics meme in a million: her disappointed face betrayed the feeling of defeat that we all succumb to at some point – even as the impressive silver medalist on a gold medal-winning Olympics team.
Our personal achievements may never amount to enough in our own eyes, even despite the praise we may receive from others.

It’s in our nature as humans to persevere and try our best to outdo one another.

Some might call it our “survival of the fittest” instinct – but where do we draw the line and cut our losses? Maroney made her iconic frown after “only” achieving second place in the vault final.

Her expression stood in stark contrast to that of another gymnast on the American team, Gabby Douglas, who won the individual all-around gold. Douglas, often described as “always bubbly,” seemed more well equipped to roll with the punches than Maroney; even when Douglas placed last in uneven bars and next-to-last on the balance beam, she didn’t pout like McKayla did when she landed second in vault.

Students here at Cabrini stand at a crossroads from the moment they first step onto campus: they can, like McKayla, balk at even the slightest of supposed failures, or, like Gabby, charge full-force into the den of the beast (most likely the office of a professor or two), escaping with battle wounds and, if they’re really lucky, something to show for their struggles (be it an A+, a pat on the back, or a deadline extension).
College, like the Olympics, is where boundaries are tested. Whether interpersonal or deeply personal, the lines we believe are so clearly drawn between what we are or aren’t capable of become blurred, less defined.

You’ll find yourself wearing different clothing, trying different food – not to mention meeting different people. These experiences are said to enrich us and, by and large, that’s exactly what we at the Loquitur believe they do.
So take it from us: don’t sweat the small stuff at this stage in your life.

The gap between silver and gold is minimal at best, and it’s the journey along the way that counts more than the chunk of metal you get at the end. So try your hand at singing, or pick up your brother’s old guitar and take lessons – chase down whatever interests you; you’ll never know where it’ll lead unless you try.

You won’t be where you are now in life for much longer.

Whether you choose to measure your own success by being able to balance four jobs and pay your way through college, or by achieving the bare minimum to scrape by with a four-year degree in tow, there’s no way to know if decisions like these will have any bearing on the rest of your life – but you’ll never know unless you go for the gold.

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Brandon Desiderio

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