Irvington Alumni’s Pathways to Success: Vivian Liu


Geetika Mahajan, Staff Writer

 Everyone carries their own baggage. And I knew that, but even then, I was not letting even the closest of my friends know about my own baggage because I was choosing not to be vulnerable with them. I think that made me feel so alone and isolated and insecure, and that had a huge impact on my high school life. Eventually, I realized that I was imposing this setback on myself— and I would consider being so closed off from everyone else my biggest setback— and I was able to get past it and be more open with those around me. It wasn’t the academic stuff as much as these intangible things that really affected me throughout high school. 

Even though I spent a lot of high school feeling depressed and isolated, I was able to achieve some of the goals I set for myself. One thing I really tried to do was use my time to do good for other people. Not necessarily for my own benefit, but for others. I think that’s why I invested so much time into volunteering. I also wanted to try to make better use of my time in general. That’s something that I try to do, but I haven’t quite accomplished yet. And aside from those things, there are definitely some goals that I didn’t achieve that I wanted to. I think that falls more into habits, because there are some habits that are hard to change. For example, I still find it really hard to get out of bed some mornings. I don’t floss my teeth every day. But you know what? Those are just small things. It’s okay. I don’t try to measure my accomplishments in terms of goals, but I like to reflect on my life a couple times a year, just to see if anything has changed significantly. I believe that achievement or success— it’s a matter of doing something that makes you uncomfortable. Just becoming more comfortable with failure and beginning to accept that as a prerequisite for success and adopting that mindset is my biggest achievement. It’s something that I can carry forward in life as well.

But despite adopting that mindset, I felt this hopelessness that came in waves. I think it’s because I had this mindset where I told myself that I should be doing these things because I felt like had to until sophomore year. I was joining a bunch of clubs and taking opportunities that I wasn’t always really enjoying.  When I look back at it, if I was doing what I truly wanted to- which sounds really cliche, but you realize this at the end of high school- that if you just do what you really want to do, you’ll end up where you want to be.