Ask me about any top college and I'll be able to find someone I know who attended or is currently attending it. Ask me about any math competition and I'll tell you who was number one. Ask me about the academic success stories of others and I'll be able to list too many to count. Ask me who got a 2400 (now 1600) on their SAT or 1520 on their PSAT. Ask about my retired math professor grandpa, first-woman-to-attend-college-in-her-village grandma, high school teacher other grandma, PhD with two masters degrees dad, or my mom who despite having lots of trouble with English got her bachelor's degree and I'll be able to go on for ages about each of their achievements.
But don't ask me about my own success.
It's not that I'm unintelligent -- merely that I am only above average, not above and beyond smart. I have straight As and do well in my 6 AP classes, but I'm not in the top 10% of my class. My extracurricular activities consist of being president of UNICEF Club at my high school and a prosecutor at Teen Court, yet I don't travel the country for Model UN, prestigious math competitions nor school newspaper conferences. I spend my weekends doing homework but I don't have an internship at the ER or volunteer at the "local" (45 minutes away) museum. I work hard in school although I barely max (97+) any classes. I have an amazing group of friends but am just shy of 200 followers on Instagram. I got a 5 in every AP test I've ever taken but I've only taken 4 tests for classes I've taken at school -- I haven't self studied for an AP test on my own at home for a class I haven't taken in school. I'd like to attend UC Berkeley or another such school but I'll definitely settle for UT Austin. My PSAT score is in the top 99% but it certainly wouldn't qualify for National Merit Scholar.
Schools from around the nation email me asking for me to apply, but in the end I know they won't accept me.
I am not sad or disappointed at my achievements nor hopeful that I will attend some Ivy League school, I was bitterly jealous when two years ago, family friends called with news of their children's college acceptances -- Princeton, MIT, MIT and so on. In gatherings with family friends I had always heard about the kids at Harvard, one who actually dropped out of pre-med at WashU (one of the hardest pre-med programs), Rice pre-med going on to become a specialist, the girl who graduated Harvard and went to graduate school at Stanford (wtf honestly), the guy who works as a researcher at Stanford, the older brother of a kid at piano class who went to UChicago on scholarship, and the Carnegie Mellon kid who actually sent home money during college. How could I not be jealous? Over the last few years especially, I've learned to come to terms of what I would and wouldn't be able to achieve college wise and at this point and I'm okay with where I am right now although I know there is definitely room for a lot of improvement. It used to feel so incredibly unfair to me that everyone around me was so accomplished but I've come to the two realizations that not being as accomplished is nothing to be ashamed of because I'm already better than many others and that they put in all the work to get to where they are while I may have not put in as much work yet.
In the end, your college education can only help you go so far if you aren't successful in the workplace and there are always chances to further your education later on into your life. My dad attended UT Austin for his doctorate degree, but he went back to online school at UC Berkeley only a few years ago! There will always be a another chance -- not that you need one -- to redeem yourself if you feel as if college wasn't fulfilling. The name of your college on your degree may help in many aspects, but in the end that's not what will determine the entire rest of your life and the prerequisite for success is not a brand name college.