“[L]adders are limiting–people can move up or down, on or off. Jungle gyms offer more creative exploration. There’s only one way to get to the top of a ladder, but there are many ways to get to the top of a jungle gym.” -Sheryl Sandberg in Lean In
As I approach my senior year I have been reflecting more and more on my past experiences and how they have added up to launch me into the real world. My parents have been constantly asking me where my Big 4 internship is. I keep comparing myself to all my fellow colleagues who have also followed that common path–internship with abig company to job offer to career. Needless to say, I felt a bit of panic as I reflected on how I “didn’t compare” to my peers.
However, when I sat down and truly reflected on my own, I realized there’s really no reason to panic. While my high school peers were sacrificing time for expensive SAT classes and stuffing their minds with vocab words, I stood by the extracurricular activities that gave me the leadership experience and work ethics I continue to use today. Despite not focusing on my SAT scores while most of everyone else seemed to deem it a life-or-death matter, I still got into Boston University’s School of Management. In short, what I’m trying to say is, I didn’t always “climb straight up the ladder” (to stay with the metaphor) but I still always got where I needed to get.
So, for those of you who are feeling slightly panicky because you didn’t get into the Ivy League college, that big company internship or immediately get that anticipated job offer, so what, you missed a step on the jungle gym. There’s always going to be another way to get the top. You just have to keep your eyes on the prize, be persistent and be creative.