Opinion: Does Wealth Determine Your Success?

No matter race, gender or class, everyone wants to be successful. However, what does success mean in simple terms?

Success means achieving or accomplishing a goal. This goal could be getting a high paying job or it could be being fulfilled in life through various ways. When asked the question of whether success comes from wealth or wellbeing, two upcoming college freshmen said that happiness was the most important factor in their lives. Coming from their own personal experiences, Olivia and Ivy said their situation may not be the same for everyone, but their wellbeing mattered the most.

Billionaire entrepreneur and businessman Richard Branson wayed into the debate as well. While the founder of Virgin Records has billions of dollars, he disagrees with the widely known statement “money equals happiness”.

“Too many people measure how successful they are by how much money they make or the people they associate with,” he wrote. “In my opinion, true success should be measured by how happy you are.”

Entrepreneur and television personality Mark Cuban also offers his opinion on the topic.

“To me, success is waking up in the morning with a smile on your face, knowing it’s going to be a great day,” he said.

Additionally, it is evident that not all successful people have millions of dollars lying around. Vincent Van Gogh only sold one painting in his lifetime. While his paintings are now worth millions, he did not have that much money while he was alive. Despite this, Van Gogh is deemed successful and is one of the most influential artists of the 21st century. 

On the other hand, money can lead you to live a better lifestyle, which contributes to becoming successful. A research study at Binghamton University in New York found that success materialism (wealth and material possessions are a sign of success in life) positively influences life satisfaction by boosting a person’s economic satisfaction. 

While this may be true, many successful people had a hard upbringing and became successful through their own determination. Oprah Winfrey, for example, grew up in poverty. This obstacle did not stop her from working hard and becoming one of the most inspiring talk-show hosts in America. This just goes to show that having money does not drive peoples’ actions. Ambitions, dreams and goals are the reason people get to where they want to go. 

In simple terms, having money does not mean you are successful. On the other hand, having no money doesn’t mean you are not successful. Success is a personal achievement that has no limits. 

2022 NFL Draft: Georgia’s Winning Streak Continues

The NFL Draft is the one night a year where a player’s life can change by just one announcement.

Claude Felton, senior associate athletic director of The University of Georgia said, “Most players that want to go to these big schools dream of being in the NFL.”

Georgia football set a number of records in the 2022 NFL Draft. 15 players were drafted from the University, making this the highest number of players selected from a single school in the seven-round draft history. Additionally, Georgia set the record for the most defensive players drafted from a single school in the first round. 

Key Georgia players such as Travon Walker, Jordan Davis, Nakobe Dean, Lewis Cine and many others were drafted by a NFL team. This worried many fans, who pondered over what the team will do next year without these Georgia stars. 

“No matter how good a coach you are, if you don’t have the players, it’s going to be hard to get to where you want to go,” Felton said. 

To solve this issue, Felton discussed head coach Kirby Smart’s main prioritization in the off season, recruiting. Recruiting is one of Georgia’s strengths. Smart mentioned that recruiting is 50% of his job. Especially after the 2022 National Championship game, high school boys dream of playing at a top performing university.

“Those 15 guys that got drafted, there was a time when no one had heard of them either,” Felton said while discussing accurate recruiting. 

While most players’ main goal is to declare for the NFL Draft, not every player chooses that path. College football players are allowed to declare for the draft as early as their junior year of college. This has been the case for many Georgia alumni such as Herschel Walker, Sony Michel and Nick Chubb. 

However, it’s still normal to see players stay for their fourth year and get a degree or have one more chance to enjoy their time in college. In this upcoming season, Nolan Smith, Willam Poole, Stetson Bennett and many others will be making their way back between the hedges one last time.

“Some guys wanted to stay their whole four years and graduate, but a lot of guys knew when it was time for them to go and chase their dream,” said Julian Rochester, former defensive lineman at the University of Georgia. 

The Draft will forever remain one of the most historic nights in football. A so-called late pick in the 6th round could end up winning the Super Bowl and breaking countless records. Playing on the Georgia football team does not just mean putting on pads and running on a field. It means being a part of a family and doing whatever it takes to help your team succeed. 

The 15 players that were drafted in the 2022 draft will achieve great accomplishments on their respective teams. Equally, Georgia fans will never forget the impact all of the players the team lost had on the program. 

Georgia still has many young talented players on their roster as well, such as Brock Bowers and Kelee Ringo. Needless to say, the Georgia football team and staff is confident that they have everything it takes to be at the top next year.

“Kirby Smart and the entire Georgia football program will do their best to keep continuing being a championship football team”, said Rochester.

Joe Dennis

As a journalist, it is evident that Joe Dennis uses empathy and kindness when writing any story he finds.

“I’m always thinking about how decisions impact people, not so much about the politics of issues.”

Joe Dennis is a journalist and teacher. Although his career is very important to him, he puts his family above all. This prioritization began during his childhood. He grew up in Chicago with his family close by. His mother immigrated from the Philippines and his Filipino heritage dominated most of his childhood. Additionally, catholicism played a huge role in the way he was raised. Saying grace before every meal, going to church every Sunday, and celebrating Easter was a regular in the Dennis household. Even though he does not practice this religion anymore, his core values lead his journalistic career a well as his family.

“As I got older I really started to embrace it more” he said. “Family is everything.”

This mindset stayed with Dennis into his adult life. As a dad of three kids, Dennis is constantly trying to help his children embrace their heritage as well. Cooking traditional Filipino dishes like Pancit, Adobo and Lumpia allows his children to stay close to their Filipino culture. While he does not reside in Chicago anymore, his family still visits his hometown to see their relatives. Dennis’ love for his family turned into love for his community through his journalistic career.

“I’ve always had a heart to look out for people that may have been forgotten,” he said.

During his time of being a community journalist, Dennis attended a city council meeting. At the open comments section portion of the meeting, an African American man voiced his complaints concerning his landlord. His house had mice and rats everywhere, but his landlord did nothing to settle the situation. Dennis reached out to the man after the meeting and scheduled a time to see his home in person. Dennis investigated this issue called slumlording. He created a series that took about three months and was nominated for several awards. While winning awards was a huge accomplishment, the main purpose of his journalistic writing was to write for those who were unable to speak for themselves, a principle that has been enlisted in him since his childhood.

“My religion has always taught me to look out for the people that are less than.”

Maya McKenzie

My name is Maya McKenzie and I am from Johns Creek , Georgia. I attend Johns Creek High School with my twin sister Macy. I was born in Birmingham, Alabama, but Atlanta has always been my home. Even when I was little, I was chanting “Go Dawgs” and “Rise up” at the top of my lungs.

I have always enjoyed the flexibility that the English language has given me. This is part of the reason why I am interested in all aspects of Journalism, from print to broadcast. I’ve been around Athens and the Grady College for as long as I can remember. My dad graduated from the University of Georgia, so this school has always been at the top of my college list. My interest specifically focuses on sports journalism. Watching the Falcons play every Sunday is truly the highlight of my week. Although I don’t play either sport, football and basketball simply brings me joy. Maria Taylor and Malika Andrews have been big inspirations to me in this male-dominated industry.

As for my journalism journey, it has been very untraditional. Instead of taking the traditional newspaper and yearbook route, I chose to center my Girl Scout Gold award around my love of interviewing. For this award, I am conducting 10 interviews about the Covid-19 pandemic with doctors, athletes, teachers and other professionals around my community. These interviews will be preserved at the National Library of Congress in Washington, DC. History is a huge passion of mine, but unfortunately not every part of history has been documented for the future. Preserving these interviews will do more for history than just provide statistics about the pandemic. It will expose the raw emotions that people have experienced during these dreadful past years.

Community service is another passion of mine. I serve in The National Charity League with my mother and sister and have held over five officer positions in my chapter. Additionally, I have served over 300 community service hours with the organization. I have been a Girl Scout for 10 years and currently serve as the communications manager for The Older Girls Advisory Board. Lastly, I am the secretary for my high school’s national Beta Club and the upcoming community service chair. Johns Creek is truly a bubble compared to the rest of Atlanta, so I love to give back whenever I can. This is something that I have learned from my parents. My mom and dad have always told me to be kind and remember those who have come before you.

This camp is something that I have been looking forward to since I took a tour of the Grady College, and I cannot wait to learn more about the aspects of journalism.