JT Chow: Expectations




 Photography, Text and Interview by JT Chow, Copyright 2017




We all have expectations.

Expectations motivate us in our endeavors, in order to discover whether our expectations are, in the end, satisfied. In a way, expectations inspire curiosity and a desire for closure.

Students come to Penn with many expectations. Some with the expectation of finding new friends, some with the expectation of further self-discovery. But common to many students entering college is the expectation of success.

In some way or another, many of us are enamored with the very idea of success. We measure our successes in different contexts – in academics, social spheres, professions, and beyond. The question then is, how do we assign value to our individual success? For successes to have value, they have to be compared.

There is a curious entanglement between one’s perception of success and happiness. I asked my friends, “what does success mean to you?” Many times, the root answer was happiness. Pride, self satisfaction. My friends want to be happy – or they want to make others happy.

Success is two-faced. The less celebrated component of success is the struggle. Sleepless nights, missed chances, and failure after repeated failure. At its core, success is a game of endurance.

Abject failure is the elephant in the room. I have seen my friends internalize their hardships and struggles. Depression gnaws at them from the inside and lashes with subtle strikes.

Missed appointments. Insomnia. Inability to get out of bed in the morning. And despite it all, a dogged, weary persistence to keep pushing through.

As a community, we should not internalize our struggles, but be able to speak out when we need help or seek reassurance from each other. No individual is incapable of failure… in some ways failure should be something to be celebrated as a stepping stone on the way to success.

This too, should become our expectation.





Behind The Scenes:



JT Chow


About The Author: JT Chow is a senior enrolled in the Wharton School of Business, Class of 2017

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