What Do We Have to Lose?

The Library

It was Finals Week at the NYU Undergraduate Stern School of Business and I was about to LOSE IT. Three final exams in four days, all worth huge portions of my overall grade in the class and all covering difficult material. My future career, my peers’ respect, and my parents’ pride counted on how well I did on these exams…That’s a lot at stake.

After 10 hours of cramming formulas on equity valuations and options trading into my head, imprisoned inside my school library and running on nothing but caffeine, sugar, and fear, I decided to take a “break” and check my Facebook.

My newsfeed

BAD idea. Post, after post, after post in my Facebook newsfeed just amplified my stress levels. My fellow college students were all just as stressed out by finals, and they felt it necessary to document every exhausted, half-deranged thought during their suffering. Their stress added to mine but also made me feel like I wasn’t doing enough studying than I already was. Seeing so many classmates worrying about the exam only reassured me that there was a good reason to be worried!

But then…I stopped scrolling. Because my eyes landed on a post that stood out from the sea of finals misery. It was a post that looked like…actual misery. It was a picture from Maya’s Hope of children in the Philippines who were overjoyed just to have food, meaning they would finally be able to attend school on a full stomach.

Maya’s Hope cutie pies

I was on the verge of losing it, but then I realized how lucky I was to still have so much to lose. My idea of loss was nothing compared to the sense of hopelessness that Maya’s Hope’s kids in the Philippines and Ukraine feel every day because, well, they never had any of this to begin with. A lot of them have never had families, or bright hopes for the future, or the resources to attend school regularly.

So next time I feel myself panicking at how much is at stake, I will remember those who don’t have so much at stake, who actually don’t have much of anything at all. Instead of focusing on what we could potentially not have, we could let go of some of what we do have so that they have something. It is why I continue to commit my time to helping our cutie pies, and why we should all give what we can. Why don’t we just give a little bit of our surplus? What do we have to lose?


Jeanne Qiu

Contributed by Jeanne Qiu

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