Seventeen years ago I began what I thought was a journey to become better than it all, better than Seneca and the people that stayed behind. I wanted to be better than everyone. I had graduated high school and was off to the farthest public college with in-state tuition. One of only a dozen or so in my graduating class to venture more than 100 miles from our hometown, I felt like this was the first step to becoming better than the little town I’d known all my life.
I remember walking into a small room and meeting my roommate from New Jersey. A little guy with a big accent doing something similar. He talked funny, didn’t like the music I liked and his Jersey mom would leave 20 minute messages on our answering machine every Saturday morning at 9am. She’d have complete conversation with us on the answering machine, just making sure we were both safe. I don’t think we had anything in common with each other except being in a new place with new people and not knowing much about either. It wasn’t long and we knew most of the people living in a six story building in Charleston. It seemed like everyone was on a mission to become better than something. Some were hoping to be better than the family, town, or city they left behind. Others were striving to be better than the friends they missed or even the friends they had but never really liked. Everyone was planning to become better than something. We’d all taken a leap of faith from the comfort and sameness we’d all grown accustomed to in our previous eighteen years. We were all optimistic, wide-eyed and ready to show the world we could be better than them.
Some of those friends I met that year didn’t make it to their second year and others didn’t even make it to the second semester. Some found another school, some went to work or back home but they all did it knowing a little bit more about themselves. Today as I’m living back in my hometown, I’ve learned considerably more than I knew back in those days. I’ve learned you’ll never be better than where you came from or the people you knew or know today. The only comparison that should ever matter is the one between who you are today and who you were yesterday. For all those students in new places with new people, remember you’ll never be better than everyone but you can always be better than the person you were. Study hard, have fun and always be better!
Written by Alex Vassey, a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ at Vassey Financial Planning & Investments. With systematic planning and proven strategies, Alex Vassey helps families prepare for all stages of life from college savings accounts, to funding a busy and vital retirement, to handling long term care insurance needs. You can reach Alex via email at Alex@vasseyfpi.com or at his office, located at 140 Bountyland Road, Seneca, SC 29672.