Sunday, April 7

Goodness Vs. Greatness

As I walked out of the newly-released Disney movie Oz: The Great and Powerful this past weekend, I was struck with how apt its core message was: aspire not to greatness, but to goodness. As a natural over-achiever, I have, as long as I can remember, wanted to achieve great things. Yet, even as I won academic scholarships and research awards, I was never content. 

Over the years, though, I have come to realize that it is when I am volunteering that I feel most at peace. Indeed, while volunteering, I feel purposeful, happy, and even inspired. Completing community service has helped me to realize that doing good in the world should not be regarded as any less of an achievement than being great. Indeed the “goodness” spread through service to others has far-reaching and lasting impacts on the individual volunteering and those they are serving: volunteering is humbling; it allows individuals to apply their knowledge, passions, and talents for the benefit of others, especially the less fortunate; it allows one to connect with others in their community; it fosters open-mindedness and acceptance of diverse populations; it allows one to “Pay It Forward”; and it can be a great way for one to gain new experiences, see new places, and be exposed to new ideas. 

McNair Scholars are truly some of the best, brightest, and most inspiring individuals I have ever met. All of you have overcome adversity of one form or another to get where you are and you have now set for yourself some very big and impressive goals. I can tell you first hand, though, how easy it is to get caught up in these goals and to (1) not make time for the seemingly "small" and non-relevant things like volunteering here and there in the community and (2) not realize that by doing good, even in small amounts here and there, we really truly are making big contributions to society and developing into the great people we want to be. :)

1 comment:

  1. Jenn - thanks for contributing this post and contributing your "awesomeness" to McNair - you are already doing good and great things. Like I always tell you - can't wait to see where your journey takes you.


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