Competition

 

 

            The whole semester was a frantic flurry to finish and maintain high grades. The mind was continuously bustling from subject to subject as the fear of failure remained ever so near and present. Always on the back of each student’s mind – the innate drive to compete and beat the others. Firing complex questions, one waited for the other to stumble in order to expose one’s Achilles’ heal. Weakness in intellect or theory exposes one’s downfalls, and makes the other more confident and vicarious. There is no room for mistakes for the one who carries the flag of victory is the one revered with success. There is no end for the world will keep on trying to get ahead.  

            From my peers, there was a respect for the high grades I achieved; however, with respect came an instinctual drive to destroy. Any ounce of uncertainty in my eyes became the chance for my demise. Although the pressure kept me strong to fight, it also led me to see those who despise. Expectations were blown in my face for they would say, “Oh he will surely get an A.” There was no doubt that it was my goal, but for others it was just another load for me to carry alone. I would remain composed as stone on the outside, but inside I was being swallowed by my own tone. The tone that harshly hushed me into submission for the burden of riding every condition.

           Men have always envied those who run in first place. They too have practiced for hours, conditioned in the blistering sun, and dealt with many hardships; however, that one man in front always seems to fly on ahead. May it be destiny or chance? Most men leave it to chance and wait for the other to descend. It is the intrinsic nature of man, from the times of primitive survival, to compete for ultimate success. We wear suits on the outside to appear civil, but the battles within are nothing more than that of primitive survival. The man who lives for himself will only help others for recognition and fame. Francois de la Rochefoucauld once said, “We should often feel ashamed of our best actions if the world could see all the motives which produced them.” Selfless men are hard to find for they may only be a concept to rekindle the light of hope within us all. Those men, if they even exist, are as rare as lost ancient gems that have fallen into the murky sea. For certain, I know that God is the only Being that illuminates perfection. Mortal men are merely looking for immortality through their outward actions. Few have made that ambition a reality, but those who have cut out a name in the condensed chapters of history are, nonetheless, never perceived as perfect. Our vices are our shovels used to dig our own graves. We have all dug our own, and are just waiting to be pushed in when the time comes. 

            I sit alone in my dorm in silence. The scurrying feet, running water, clanking bottles, turning pages, and banging doors have ceased. The quiet has left me without purpose. I have been longing for this moment – the light at the end of the tunnel. Through hard work I have arrived and the light has dimmed. I always needed my own space amidst people in my face for four months straight. No time to breathe without affecting someone else, I never sat in solitude. Time never permitted. I am now liberated in space – just floating. This is not the liberation I truly seek, because true liberation will come only when I have finished the journey and see land on the distant shore. Until medical school is over, I shall count my blessings which are many, and embrace the men who share words, but glare silently in envy. These men have taught me to sail forward looking ahead but never forgetting to glance behind. I am not completely innocent of this crime myself, but I am more vigilant of my feelings after I became the subtle target of conspiracy.

             The highs and lows of a university student are many, and the need to perform at one’s best can be draining. Nevertheless, the reward of achieving with humility and honor, the glow of success is the ultimate gift of an education. Admittedly, money has always played a rather big role in my decisions for the future but experience is beginning to make that shed. I still want to live a comfortable life through hard work, but I also want to reciprocally make a difference in people’s lives. As a young man, I am sick and tired of looking for leaders within religion or life itself, so I want to discipline myself to lead. I want to lead not on the pulpit but on the terms of my own actions. I want to bury my vices before they end up burying me. I desperately want to live my life without an ounce of guilt, so I have nothing to bow my head to other than God. My ambitions are many, but I want to manipulate them for the right reasons. Like a sculptor I want to chisel my mind into that of greatness by the grace of God and not by ego. I would rather be a mediocre man with humility than a man with money and arrogance. Being a student has taught me more than formulas and concepts, because I have primarily learned that learning happens until the last breath and heart beat. I am a Sikh, a learner, until the end.

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