On Success & Being Called A Snob

I am from a small town in central Indiana. When I was a kid, the town was a decently safe bedroom community outside the capital, where families tended to settle down to have and raise kids. The majority of residents of my hometown are/were lower-middle class, or farmers. Lots of people love living in and growing up where I grew up, and while I'm not one of those people, I'm not saying no one should live there.

I am, however, saying that it does not always foster the highest levels of achievement, goal setting, and dreaming for young people. It was not always easy to envision going to college when I was in high school, and I went to college ill-equipped for what met me when I arrived. My own personality and drive to achieve something greater than what was laid before me growing up was not always met with applause or pride by my peers, and I have not always received the best reactions from people that stayed in my hometown to what I have chosen to do with my life.

I'm not going to stand here and act as if I have achieved some sort of amazing thing in my life, because I haven't, if you compare me to the tens of thousands of other people that have done the same. But, I did achieve more than many people I grew up with. I got a college degree when many people from my graduating class never attended college, and I attended graduate school and received a Master's degree when a very small percentage of my high school classmates chose to pursue a post-graduate education. I lived outside of Indiana for five years, I've traveled internationally (and if you count studying abroad, lived internationally), all of which most people I grew up with have not chosen to do.

I don't find any of these things remarkable in any way. Most of the people with whom I went to college and grad school, or lived in DC, have done all of these things and much more. In DC, I fell on the lower end in terms of achievement and success. I also realize that everyone has different values, and goals and dreams for themselves and their lives. So, I'm not saying that the path that I've chosen is for everyone.

But, I am saying that the path I've chosen has not always been met with support, praise, or adulation. I actually received vitriol from a peer a few years ago, when he told me I was stuck-up, (and used some rather colorful language to expound upon that opinion) and that I was a bad influence on one of my girlfriends for making her want more than she had. Basically, for encouraging her and believing in her, that she could attend college and get a degree, and pursue a job she wouldn't be able to otherwise. I haven't always been met with positive language from my family, either - I have been told I think I am too good for my family, that I abandoned them when I moved to DC, or that I might as well just move on and forget about them since I'm "so important" now.

The most hysterical facet to all of this is that, in my current position, I don't make good money! I'm not a high-powered executive in my suit with my mocha-latte and newspaper in hand on my way to work every morning. I don't even wear real pants to work, for crying out loud! But, it is an unfortunate aspect of growing up in one specific type of community, but wanting a different life for yourself, that not everyone is willing to understand. People cast specific titles upon you without knowing you, or really speaking with you regularly, because of a preconceived notion of what you might be like, or what thoughts you might have of them and their lifestyle, because of the path you have chosen for yourself.

This is all to say that -  before you judge someone, or assume they're judging you, love them first. Get to know them, and approach them with acceptance and interest before you assume anything about them or their life. They may surprise you.


  1. Great post. It feels terrible to be judged for your choices, especially when you're trying to do your best. I think you've done a great job for yourself, and can't wait to see what you do next.

    1. Thanks very much Shann! Same to you, I love following along with your blog and interacting with you here! Your support is so appreciated! <3

  2. I love this post so much! Incredible job, Jessi :)
    xx Isabel

    1. Thanks for visiting Isabel! I look forward to seeing you around!

  3. I moved to a small town from a suburb of the Twin Cities and I easily see how small bedroom towns don't always foster wanting to be BIGGER. For instance, my boss's daughter is studying language and education. Her dream is to move to Japan to teach English. My boss? Doesn't want her to leave the town. Is terrified of her going anywhere, doing anything, experiencing anything. And the daughter is a people pleaser, so I could see her giving up her dream to stay. And that just makes me SAD.

    It's hard to see. And having bigger dreams doesn't make you snobby. It just means you want to experience more than you're given. That shouldn't be a bad thing.


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