“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education alone will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.” – Calvin Coolidge
It has become common to rely on talent for success. Talent is innate and doesn’t require time to develop – it’s just there. Many people are naturally talented at something when they’re born and it’s possible to completely rely on that talent to take a person places on in life. The downside to this otherwise glorious plan is that this person will likely be unsuccessful in getting to the places they want to go and progressing a talent that makes them good into a skill that makes them great.
Working hard to get somewhere in life is the only way to achieve desired goals. Sometimes, there are steps in this process that are maybe not-so-desireable, but we must do them in order to achieve said goal. For example, let’s say that I would like to become an engineer. To do so, I’d be required to attend college and do well in lots of science and math classes. While I really desire to be an engineer, I do not desire to take Calculus. That class requires so much time and has so much homework, and let’s not forget that it is very difficult. To be an engineer, I must work through this class and do all that I can to do well in it. Passing this class aids in getting a degree which aids in getting an engineering job. It’s a minor piece in the puzzle, but crucial piece nonetheless.
I see this in high school all the time. We’re all taking classes that we think are stupid. When am I ever going to need chemistry if I do not plan on dealing with science at all in the future? But I need to take it so that I meet the requirements to graduate and the requirements to attend the university of my choice. Without this silly and seemingly unnecessary class, I wouldn’t graduate high school, which would severely hinder the plans that I have. This is the motivation I have to show up to school every day and work hard in all of classes; they’re all a vital piece in my process of reaching my goals.
I went through a phase my junior year where I stopped caring. I stopped showing up to school every day and I was sick of doing homework all of the time when there are other things I needed to be doing. Taking a part in the numerous extra curricula that I took part in last year really stretched me thin and it got to the point where I was so busy, I spent my free time thinking about the hefty to-do list I had ahead of me instead of actually doing anything. The constant stress of feeling like I was falling short in every attribute was overwhelming and I would take time away from school to just take a break from the stress. Little did I know that this was the opposite prescription for my stress; missing that much school caused me to miss an hour’s worth of studying for each class per day. I would spend my time of sleeping or relaxing with my mom. This habit caused me to fall behind in various classes and stress me out even more, especially the week before the end of the semester when I was worried about my grades.
I see this same pattern continuing in many of my friends. Many of us went through this phase last year. While I am coming out of it, I see many continuing to rely on their innate intelligence to pass tests and Hockinson’s ridiculous grading system to bring their grade up right before the semester ends. Hockinson makes is so incredibly easy to do nothing all semester, work hard for a week, and pass with the same grade as those who put forth effort all year long. Lily can testify to this, because she is a diligent student who would never fail to attend class, unless other circumstances prevented her and there was no way for her to be at school. She always did and still does her homework and tries to better herself in the academic field continuously. While she did all this, I showed up to pre-calculus an average of 3 times a week and never did my homework and managed to receive the same grade as her. I knew that I could do it, because I was blessed with a math brain from my father. I knew I could study very little and not go to class and get a good grade. Hockinson’s grading system made that easy for me, and all I cared about was the fact that my transcript had an “A” under pre-calculus.
Like I stated before, I see this among many of my peers. Because we can, we don’t do anything an expect an A, and when we do not receive that A, we get upset, regardless of the fact that we did absolutely nothing to deserve an A. There was a particular conversation I had with Michaela last year that reiterates this fact. We were both upset that we didn’t have an A in pre-calculus and were complaining to one another about it. Halfway through our conversation, we both realized that it’s funny we feel entitled to complain and be enraged about a poor grade in this class when we don’t even show up to it half of the time. We felt entitled to place that blame on anyone but ourselves, even though the poor grade was a result of our poor work ethic.
This year, I have taken a few things off of my plate and am doing so much better. I have only taken one personal day, and it was half of a day. I took the time off to read Frankenstein last tuesday, and missed AP Stats and Career Choices, but I was ahead of everyone by a day or two in both of those classes, so I knew it wouldn’t affect me much to skip. I’ve learned that hard work is the only way to truly achieve the grades that I want, I cannot continue to rely purely on my current knowledge. Showing up to class is such a crucial piece in passing a class. As simple as it sounds and as obvious as it seems, it’s a lesson I learned the hard way. I also learned that I needed to prioritize my time better. Which is more important, my paper that’s due tomorrow or tumbling practice? Watching a movie with my family every night or missing one night because I didn’t finish my math homework?
School NEEDS to be a priority if someone is planning to attended college. All of the little things like doing the math assignments, writing blog posts for english, and showing up for class prepared really add up to the grade in the class which adds up to your transcript which determines if you graduate and where you’ll attend college. The little things in this case do matter, because they add up to the big things. Wondering why you did poorly on the latest quiz or why you had no idea how to write the last paper we wrote in class? Ask yourself these questions. Was I paying attention in class? Did I do the assigned homework? If both of those answers are yes, did you approach the teacher during focus time to ask for extra help on the assignment? If this answer is also yes, then it’s amazing that you’re trying so hard even though you aren’t receiving the desired results. If the answer to any of those questions is no, then the only one to blame for these things is yourself and you have no room to complain or blame others for this.
While Hockinson doesn’t do the best in teaching this, I hope that all of my friends learn this lesson before they go off to college and have the same mentality that they did in high school, because it’s very hard to BS everything in college. The only way to actually be successful is to work hard to get there, pure talent or intelligence will never be sufficient. Taking action and responsibility for everything is a humbling process, but necessary if success is in the future.