Settling for Mediocrity

Alyson Vargas-Smith
By: Alyson Vargas

As a Philadelphia University professor so eloquently stated, “people aim to be Spongebobs of the real life” What does he mean by that? He explained how Spongebob settled for mediocrity because he was comfortable being a fry cook. He never got his driver’s license, and instead stayed working at the Krusty Krab, in hopes of becoming the best fry cook. While it is clear that Spongebob had potential through his success at the Krusty Krab, he stayed working at a fast food restaurant for a greedy boss, earning minimum wage. Instead of creating clear long-term goals, he made small goals like getting employee of the month. The professor proceeded to say that people end up being Spongebobs of real life, because they manage to avoid dreaming bigger, and instead create small term goals in mediocre jobs.
Listening to my professor I thought he made complete sense, so I had to agree. I thought back to my friend from high school who originally wanted to a doctor. She would talk about how since the sixth grade she knew that she was destined to be a surgeon, but by sophomore year she started talking about being a nurse. It was shocking, but nurses do get more time and interaction with patients and she loved communicating with people. However, by senior year she was not even applying to college and decided she wanted to work her way up to manager of a store. Being the manager of a store is a great job, and yes, of course, we need someone to do that, but not if they were smart enough to be a neurosurgeon. Why should such smart people settle when they had so much potential?  Why would someone want to be considered a Spongebob of the world?
Upon further thought, what if Spongebob isn’t living a mediocre life. Sometimes, society has a way of telling us that we can do better and achieve more, but that is not what we want to do or are capable of doing. Spongebob seemed to be a great person, however it does not seem like the schooling system would work for him. Spongebob has failed his driving test numerous times, and the episode where he starts writing an essay and only writes the word “the” in the long period of time he was sitting. Perhaps Spongebob is the one that had it right: instead of seeking out high paying jobs, and dreaming bigger – he was comfortable and satisfied doing what he knew he was capable  of doing to the best ability.
SpongeBob seems to be happy going to work at the Krusty Krab everyday. The key word there was “happy” because that is what people seem to be searching for in life. A quote that is so brilliantly crafted reads:

When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.

When people look into what they see in their futures, for the most part, what people have in common is that they seek happiness. Spongebob whistles, plays with his buddies, and he even enjoys his time working; that is a lot more than I can say for most people going into work at higher paying jobs or any job for that matter.
Was SpongeBob simply settling for mediocrity? Or was he leading a happy, simple life? Did he have more potential that he failed to tap into? Or was he not “smart” enough to achieve bigger goals?
What if people aren’t setting for mediocrity and instead settle for happiness, which isn’t really settling at all.

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