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Learning how to celebrate the small victories

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Learning how to celebrate the small victories

A month after obtaining my B.Sc, I went back to school to start working on my PhD. Before I went back, I had a list of things I wanted to do outside of my research. I didn’t want to be one of those people who became so consumed with their research that they forgot how to live life. LOL – I laugh now because the thing that I feared was what happened to me. A year into my PhD, I found myself struggling to find a balance (a story for another post).
I began to measure myself and my growth and progress against what those around me (and by around me, I mostly mean the people I knew back in Nigeria) were doing.

In my eyes, they were living the life, achieving their dreams and I was the struggling researcher living the work-to-home life 6 days a week. LOL – What a silly comparison to make!

For a long time, I struggled with feeling like I wasn’t measuring up, feeling like I was left behind, and not progressing. But recently it struck me that I am doing a PhD! I tend to throw the word around because I am surrounded by other PhD students. But the truth is, it’s in no way a walk in the park and the people I am constantly measuring my life against are not doing a PhD and they are not me!

Everyone’s journey is different and the truth is, we don’t all have the same end goal and we won’t all get to our end goals at the same time. Some people will get there at 20; others at 25; others at 30; and still others at 50. Yes, we all want to achieve greatness, and we also want to be successful and happy. But the truth is that success and happiness vary for every individual. Our lives are different and the factors that surround us are different. We can’t expect to achieve everything at the same speed and in the same manner as others because we are not the same people! 

So here are my two cents on the matter. In this social media age where everyone’s life is on Facebook and Instagram and Snapchat, it’s easy to feel discouraged when your mates/people you know seem to be doing so much more than you are, or seem to be having much more fun. But the truth is, most people only put up the good times. They don’t post about their struggles, their stress, or their hurt. So, you measuring your entire life against their happy moments is not ideal and doesn’t help you in any way. It’s like measuring your physical growth against a newborn baby. I mean, you won’t get an accurate representation because you are both at two different stages of life.

Moral of the story – everyone is running a different race. Your race is unique to you and as long as you are running it to the best of your ability, that’s all that matters. Keep running and achieving, cut yourself some slack, and celebrate your small victories!

I say this all the time because it is super important! Celebrate your victories because life can be tough at times and people can be hard to please, so when you can, celebrate those small victories! They make the bigger victories that much sweeter.

Sharon Bolanta (@Shayrunn) is a PhD candidate in the Republic of Ireland, at the University of Limerick. This story was published on February 5, 2018, on Sharon's blog, Wandering Thoughts (available here) and has been republished here with her permission.


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Published on: Dec 13, 2018

Pursuing a PhD in the Republic of Ireland, at the University of Limerick
See more from Sharon Bolanta


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