When I was home last Sunday, my dad told me a story about one of my cousins while he was chopping up his pineapples and oranges for the upcoming workweek. This cousin, he was saying, had recently recommended one of her university classmates for employment at the organization she currently works at. Unfortunately, this classmate really showed her ungrateful side by throwing my cousin under the bus during a business trip, trying to obtain her own job! This little story made me think about the overwhelming societal pressure to be infinitely independent and aggressively competitive, both pressures that are certainly prevalent in the college environment.
Characteristically, I am an overwhelmingly independent (read: stubborn) type. “No, I can do it” is probably my favorite phrase and I revel whenever I’ve achieved something without any hand-holding. Through my recent endeavors with searching for employment, however, I’ve come to realize that people truly cannot succeed without seeking assistance from those around them. I mean, as it happens, the only employers who have reached out to me for interviews have been the ones I have networked with previously or have conversed with on LinkedIn. In many ways, looking for my next job has been a humbling experience — no matter how stellar I think my resume is, it is no match for the power of personal connection.
Given that, why the heck do we still insist that everything be a competition, and that only the most headstrong independent people will survive? Look at my cousin’s classmate: while pushing and shoving and being two-faced might get her some high-status position in the short run, burning bridges with people who have helped her certainly won’t do much for her in the long run. As they say, it’s pretty lonely up at the top.
So let’s redirect this back to CNU: I think one of the most understated, but great, things about going to school here is that people aren’t in constant antagonistic competition with each other, at least among the people I’ve encountered. Even a simple gesture like sharing an extra scantron when someone else has forgotten theirs is great to see. It would be too easy for the sake of self-interest to not help out when someone is in need, but it seems like CNU students just get that altruism is better than egoism. Of course, I’m not saying that you drop everything you are doing to help others whenever the situation arises—we all have to have a little bit of egoism to meet our own needs, and also to make sure that others don’t take advantage of us.
But the point of this rant is to reiterate that looking out for number one shouldn’t always be your number one priority. Helping people and sharing your experiences to cultivate growth for yourself and others can be more rewarding than pushing your way to the top. If you’re looking for a university that understands this better than any other school, CNU might be the right home for you!