The Tab Future 100: a definitive list celebrating influential women across the country. With this in mind, I scrolled through the list, excited to see some of the amazing achievements that my peers in Warwick have pulled off.
However, I was a bit caught off guard when half the descriptions mentioned internships at top consulting firms and investment banks, and exec roles in related societies. For some reason, I thought that being influential meant something else – it meant creating an impact within communities, inspiring people, driving positive change.
There are some amazing women on the list, whom I feel are truly inspirational and are making such a great difference. But The Tab could really be taking this opportunity to redefine success and what it means for our generation, because we need to. Not only is this list a popularity contest, but the descriptions attached often reduced people to positions they have attained, not necessarily the incredible impacts they have made.
I was a bit caught off guard when half the descriptions mentioned internships at top consulting firms and investment banks
Our generation has been labelled as “snowflakes” for experiencing higher levels of stress, mental health issues, and dissatisfaction with life. Fuelled by social media, we are constantly comparing ourselves to others, and chasing after things that we may not necessarily want, because scoring that internship or that coveted graduate scheme proves our competency and affirms that we are better than others. Then we feel good about ourselves. Right?
People who inspire us should not just be those at the top of the corporate ladder. There are countless stories of high-flying bankers and public figures who end up leaving their “successful” lives because they were simply not enjoying themselves. We know, deep inside, that we define success for ourselves, and everyone finds meaning in different ways.
We are constantly comparing ourselves to others, and chasing after things that we may not necessarily want
But we get so distracted by all the noise surrounding us, and we get bombarded by so many recruitment events on campus, that sometimes we forget that what works for someone else isn’t necessarily right for everyone. The idea of having a conversation about our post-graduation plans seems be one that people are eager to avoid, but it doesn’t have to be this way. If there is no set idea of what success should be, or what you should be aiming to achieve, then any meaningful path that you are taking post-graduation should be one that you are proud of.
Arguably, money makes the world go round. At one point, I believed that what mattered most to me was securing a training contract at a London law firm (at one point, I also wanted to be an avocado farmer). However, I know that at the end of the day, I want to have a life outside my work that empowers me to do things I’m interested in, such as championing environmental sustainability.
Sometimes we forget that what works for someone else isn’t necessarily right for everyone
In today’s fast-paced life, time is our luxury. Things are developing at unprecedented speed, and we are facing such a period of uncertainty that I truly believe that if there is something you want to do, don’t wait till you have worked your whole life before you do it. This is not to say you spend all your money on champagne and caviar because you only live once, but if there is a cause that you are passionate about, or a new skill that adds value to your life, then go for it now. You won’t regret it.
Ultimately, the Tab100 list is a really good idea and features people doing absolutely wonderful work. However, we still have a long way to go in championing a diversity of achievements and reminding people that success is about doing what is meaningful to you and not anyone else.