The other day I was telling some of my friends here that I got accepted to grad school. Naturally, the next questions were where am I going and what will I be studying. I told them I’m going back to CSU Sacramento, where I also received my B.A.

“I’m not too ambitious,” I said. “It’s the only school I applied to. I figured if I didn’t get in then I’d just find something else to do.”

Later I thought about that attitude. This idea that I’m not ambitious because I’m going to a state school, one I’ve already been to, in a town I already know, not fifteen minutes from where I grew up.

Really, is that me being unambitious, or is it me being realistic? Yeah, maybe I could have gotten into a better school, but could I have afforded it? Would it really have been worth paying the $50-100 application fee just to see if I’m really good enough to go to Harvard or Columbia, only to have to turn them down because there’s no way I could come up with the cash for one semester (much less four)?

Is it really ambitious people who go to Yale and Harvard? Or is it people whose parents were ambitious and just happened to have enough money to send them there? I’m sure there are some ambitious people out there who go to good schools because they really want it. But I’m sure there are quite a few who just think of those schools as if they were any other school.

I don’t know. Sometimes I’m kind of bummed that I never applied anywhere else for my B.A. But I don’t think I’d have wanted to spend six years figuring out what to do with my life if I had been paying 10 times as much for tuition.


1. having ambition; eagerly desirous of achieving or obtaining success, power, wealth, a specific goal, etc.: ambitious students.
2. showing or caused by ambition: an ambitious attempt to break the record.
3. strongly desirous; eager: ambitious of love and approval.
4. requiring exceptional effort, ability, etc.: an ambitious program for eliminating all slums.

Does ambition really mean you seek to obtain power, wealth and success? Or are there other kinds of ambition? Maybe I do lack ambition, but I make up for it in my willingness to explore the world. If I were focused on only one thing, I think I’d miss a lot of other stuff. Is that me making excuses again for my bad behavior?