Ambition by any other name would…. smell as sweet?

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Lets talk about ambition.

First I guess I can answer the question of WHY we are talking about ambition and being ambitious.  I chose a quote from Romeo and Juliett and put my own spin on it because well… it has to do with love. Sort of. Ok Fine. It has to do with a past boyfriend. He is another story. Like other men I’ve dated, he had this amazing way of making me feel great about myself. One particular instance sticks out from our first 3 month stint. We were in my cabin on the MV Explorer while ported in Bulgaria for Semester at Sea and we had both been drinking on the beach with friends. We got into the topic of engineering, which happened to be both of our majors and he asked what I wanted to do when I graduated, which was that December. (It was July) I told him that as the semesters went on and as I went through my co-op, I realized that I didn’t want to be an engineer. I was going to finish my degree and move on.

He told me that he didn’t think I was very ambitious. It is something that has stuck with me ever since. This is something that I’ve been thinking about lately. I’ve been through a few life changes over the past few months and recently this is a conversation I would like to continue with him.

Merriam-Webster defines Ambition as:


1. a. An ardent desire for rank, fame, or power.
b. desire to achieve a particular end.

2. the object of ambition

3. a desire for activity or exertion

Examples of Ambition:

– My first ambition as a child was to join the circus.
– He lacked ambition and could not keep up with the others.

For the hell of it, lets get the definition of Ambitious:

1. a. Having or controlled by ambition.
b. having a desire to achieve a particular goal.

2. Resulting from, characterized by, or showing ambition


I really don’t know where he got “not ambitious” for me. I guess that he didn’t know me that well. I guess we should look at it as he has a different view on what ambition would be. My particular goal in life is not to have a solid job that I begin right out of college and stick with for years. It is not to start a family before I am 30. He compared me to another girl on the ship. She wanted to work with viruses upon graduating. Well yes, that is ambitious. But being involved in science and engineering really isn’t the only thing that can make someone ambitious.

I’ve always gone after what I wanted. If I really truly wanted it, I found some way to accomplish it. In high school, my ambition was to get to State Band. I managed to get there twice. In college, I tried new things. Tested out living in a different city (Philadelphia). I didn’t like my first co-op, so I found a new one. Others that I know just stuck it out because they didn’t want to try to find something else. I managed to study abroad. Everything was going against me having that experience, but I managed. I never once was jobless. That is definitely something. There was no point in my undergraduate career, especially my last few months, where I wasn’t certain of having a job in the next few months. I said that I wanted to work in International Education. Through the help of friends, I managed to get a foot in the door at a great organization.

I visited San Francisco 7 months ago. 7 months again, I said I wanted to move there. Now I live in San Francisco and arrived employed.

I’m not quite sure where not having ambition fits into all of this. So my end goals are different than yours and don’t involve a fortune at a young age. They involve me doing what I want and being happy. So far, I’ve accomplished that. I have other ambitions. I feel strongly about them, and I know that one day I will reach my goals. If I feel strongly enough about them, I will accomplish them.

If that isn’t ambition, then I don’t know what is.


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