I studied in Toronto for undergraduate and have spent my professional life in Hong Kong. I can totally relate to the strategy of being with people that much smarter, better, more knowledgeable, accomplished AND have some sort of balance. Actually, my best friends are very driven and accomplished, but the mentality became so bad at one point I asked myself if I wasn’t ambitious enough because I was hanging around these people rather than the people “up at the top” (sold companies, CEOs, etc.), whom I got on well with, but not to the point of great friends.
That’s when I stopped and was like....why would I question that precious click?
I’m 26, so have a few years on you, a few things on CV that could be seen as not much or a big deal depending on how it’s worded. I’m glad I did those things, but I’m also really glad I am doing what I’m doing now. :-)
Good luck. You will get somewhere. Just read that book from cover to cover once in a while. I did that too last week while waiting for my family. I finished Oliver Sachs’s Gratitude. :-)