As seniors in college looking forward to life's next hurdles - graduation and employment - it is important to retain a sense of feeling important. Each time I look through job listings, there is a small, and sometimes not so small current running through my mind, spitting out potent little charges that are meant to dissuade me from even applying. The charges come in the form of words that seem to shout out "Not even worth trying!" or "LOL as IF you are qualified hombre..."
I met with a professor last week about a specific posting that really got me excited. Maybe the first time I could actually envision myself in a position. I do not want to tell you which one because then there will be one more person applying for it, but anyways the professor told me - "you and ten thousand other people are interested in that job." His response successfully dampened my initial enthusiasm. So I went back to work on my cover letter, feeling like one little itty bitty sardine swimming in a school of thousands, with far less motivation than I had initially.
Reality checks are good, and we should never feel deserving of, or entitled to, a position. I would say there are only a select few students out there, the cream, who maintain an academic and experiential exceptionality that would excuse their feelings of entitlement. The rest of us, slogging through our course loads, are the crop. But being the crop does not make us any less important! Why if it were not for us, the cream would turn into the crop... and then, friends, what would we put in our coffee?
The point is, like the old Hasidic story goes in Jewish tradition, we should always remember to carry two slips of paper in our pockets, especially during times of challenge and transition. When feeling beat down, overwhelmed, or lost within a school of sardines, take out one slip of paper that says "For my sake, the world was created" (Mishnah Sanhedrin 4:5). But lest you become a person bloated with self-importance, carry a second slip of paper to serve as a gentle reminder, "I am but dust and ashes" (Genesis 18:27).