The idea that “hungry dogs run faster” is something that I think most people are familiar with. When you really want something in life, it can be compared to hunger. This “hunger” drives us and motivates us to get what we want. Literally, if you are really hungry, you will do anything to eat. When we have a goal to reach, especially something that is critical to survival, we, as people, have incredible strength to push through. Once we reach our goal, though, it is hard to say if we will continue to create and succeed in our goals, or lose the motivation that we once had. Not many people can say that they succeed over and over again. This really raises the question on what happens “when the hungry dogs get fed”.
For me, I have experienced both sides to this. For many people, during high school and later in college, getting into college or grad school is one of the most important goals during their school years. Peak performance in both, high school and undergrad, is usually seen during sophomore and junior year. During a person’s sophomore and junior year, students strive because they know that these are the most important years for their future schools. They tend to take harder and more challenging courses during these years. They put in the most effort during this time and do their best to earn and maintain the best grades they can. Many students also put in a lot of effort to build their portfolios with experience- such as work, interning, volunteering, sports, clubs, etc. In addition to all of this, high schoolers are preparing for the SAT’s or the ACT’s while college students going to grad school have to take exams like the GRE, MCAT, GMAT, etc. At the beginning of senior year, students who are planning on going to college or grad school start to prepare their applications. They continue their best work during the first semester as this is the last GPA they will get before applications are submitted. Once applications are submitted and standardized testing is completed, students start hearing back from colleges, often getting acceptance letters. This success is usually followed by a general decrease in performance. The last semester of senior year, students tend to perform the worst. Many people get “senioritis” where motivation is low and the drive to study and work hard is gone. The success of getting into college sets in and our “hunger” is fed.
I think that dealing with success is harder than dealing with failure. When you succeed at something, I think it creates a new standard in yourself. The old success is now your baseline. It is easier to fail because it is much easier to improve. I’ve seen people in college many times give up when things get hard. I’ve had friends who took courses, like chemistry and calculus, and felt the material was extremely difficult. Instead of studying, it was easier to just not study and fail. This way you can attribute your fail to your lack of studying. If they had studied and failed or not done well, it would have felt much worse. I’ve seen people study and do well. Now, you have to succeed as well as before, if not better than before on your next exam. If you do worse on the next exam, it feels much worse because your performance is declining. There is always an underlying fear of not doing as well as before. I remember when I was taking my SAT’s back in high school. The first time I took the SAT, I did really well. However, I wanted a higher score. When I took my SAT’s again, I did about the same as my first one. This was really disappointing to me. Getting the same score felt like a failure, even though there were countless factors on why performance on one exam was not better than the first one. Doing well the first time set a standard for me that I had to get a better score on the next one for it to be a success. Now, it is time for me to take my GRE and the same idea comes up for me again in this next step.