Opinion: The Best is Overrated

Last Friday, after feeling defeated by Boston College’s housing process, I texted my family to inform them that my friends and I had received the worst sophomore housing option possible: CoRo. Even though this information meant next to nothing to my parents, seeing as they are highly uninformed about the housing hierarchy at BC, my dad did manage to give me one piece of information: things tend to work out for the best.

“Good,” “better” and “best” are terms that consistently arise in our lives as Boston College students. Whether it be professors, parties or friends, we are constantly being questioned to compare, always striving for the best.

And, why wouldn’t we strive to be the best? For most of us, best has been the norm. In high school we got the best grades, had the best sports teams and were accepted into one of the best colleges. Best is second nature to us; anything short of it seems unnatural.

However, being accustomed to the best is not necessarily better. It is much more difficult to accept "good enough" when we have been taught that if you’re not the best, you’re failing. This is not to say that striving for the best is bad, but rather not being satisfied with good enough sets one up to be let down.

Our constant yearning for something more than what we have may be explained by the many choices we are given. Options cause our expectations to be high and we begin to question our decisions, which leads to self-blame if reality fails to mirror our presumptions.

These high expectations that accompany our decisions are agonizing. We spend hours deliberating which test to study for, which group of friends to hang out with, which housing option to pick. We want the best, and will undoubtedly have FOMO if our high expectations are not met.

This decision-making process we are involved in every day almost always ends in defeat. If we expect the best, and the best is not given to us, we have failed ourselves. The solution? Learn to accept good enough.

Sure, good enough may not seem like the most ideal situation, but according to psychologist Barry Schwartz, "satisficers," those who settle for good enough, are on average happier than "maximizers," those who feel like they must choose the best option possible. Settling for the acceptable, and not the extravagant, teaches us that not being the best isn’t a failure, it’s reality.

Accepting good enough is a hard pill to swallow. However, personally I have become a more easygoing and less uptight person by accepting that I won’t always be, or have, the best. I’ve also learned that a seemingly good enough situation may turn out for the best.

This year, I was placed in a forced triple for housing, thought to be one of the worst freshman housing possibilities. Entering freshman year, by no means did I think this was the best situation I could be in. I considered it just good enough. However, my good enough situation turned out to be one of the best circumstances I could’ve imagined myself in.

Realizing this has allowed me to cope with the pain that came with receiving Williams as my sophomore housing. Though originally devastated, I realized that my future quad in Williams will be a step up from my current forced triple. In this case, not having the best housing freshman year allowed for my sophomore housing to be an upgrade. As far as I’m concerned, if my friends and I made a forced triple entertaining, we can do the same with CoRo quads.

Though it is difficult to settle for something while knowing there is a so-called "better" option, we will ultimately be happier, more accepting people by learning to be satisfied without attaining perfection. For once, I am fully confident in my dad’s advice and believe that things truly do work out for the best, even if they are just good enough.

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Emma Powers