I talked about grit in my last post. Reminder: Grit = passion + perseverance. I have a special place in my heart for motivating people to go to college. I was the first person to attend college from a family of five girls (I was the fourth in line). (Yes, 5 girls! No brothers.) College made a tremendous impact on my life intellectually and it provided me with a way make more money than I ever had without a degree. In my teenage years, graduating from college was a big goal of mine. You may be at different places in your lives, but I’m sure each of you has goals. There are some basic principles in how to get what you want.
High School Flashback
It is my senior year of high school. I’m sitting in a large auditorium with a room full of seniors. There are several counselors at the front speaking to one student at a time about his/her future plans.
My counselor calls my name (of course she says it wrong).
We sit, and she looks through my transcript (or pretends to).
She looks up at me behind her perfect wire glasses and sleek black bob. “What do you want to do after you graduate?” she asks.
“I want to be a doctor,” I say with confidence.
“College isn’t for everyone. Get a vocation,” she responds without skipping a beat.
This is my high school “counselor?” The person who is supposed to mentor and guide me into adulthood??? The person I’m meant to look up to? Why did she say that? Was it my clothes? My appearance? It couldn’t be my grades. I graduated with over a 4.0 weighted GPA because of all of my advanced placement courses.
I felt like I had been punched in the stomach. Deflated.
Guess what? I got over it, and in my head (luckily), I told her to screw off. I’d find my way to college with or without her help.
Find a Mentor (a real one)
For every goal you want to achieve, there is someone who has already done it. Find that support who will guide you through the process. He/she may even cheer you on. You don’t want negative energy or someone who will always second guess you. Anything that is difficult to achieve is hard enough without the negative energy.
I spent my days in the library researching information about college and scholarships. The librarian noticed how often I was in there and took an interest in helping me. She became my mentor.
Find Your Grit!
- What is it that you want? (Um….this is your passion.)
- Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t have it. (Um…this is your perseverance.)
Time is just an illusion. There is never enough of it. There will always be “things” pressing for our time. We MUST prioritize.
If you get a chance to read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey, I highly recommend it (or for teens). Dr. Covey talks about planning your day. Many of us start out with a to-do list. This is fine, but he says to put 1 or 2 things that you absolutely want to get done in the day at the top of the list. I always do this.
So if you want to got to college, put apply to three colleges today. Or research 3 colleges today. Your goal for that day should be specific and measurable. You won’t be as disappointed at the end of the day if you don’t get your ten things done because you completed what you wanted most importantly to get done that day.
If you have your top 1-2 things you want to get done in mind at the beginning of the day, this will help you to not get distracted. Keep your eyes on finishing your goals for the day. Of course, emergencies happen, but make sure the situation is a true emergency. You will be surprised as to how many things can wait.
In my high school years, I had to take the bus to and from school. I couldn’t stay at school before or after to use the library. We didn’t have the internet at home! Yikes! Times have changed! (And I’m not that old.) Therefore, I spent my lunches in the library to do what I needed to get done so that I could apply for college and scholarships on time.
Believe in Yourself
We are very hard on ourselves. Often, if you don’t believe in yourself, it shows externally. It will show on your college essay for admissions. It will show in a job interview. It will show in your writing. It will show. Other people will not believe in you if you don’t believe in yourself. You know the old saying, “Fake it until you make it.” It’s so true. Think about it. If you are positive with yourself, you can produce better. Remember that?
How do you climb a mountain? One step at a time.
How do you run a race? One step at a time.
How do you graduate from college? One class at a time.
When I was in college, I knew how many classes I needed to graduate, but I didn’t stress about it. I only focused on my next assignment. With each assignment you finish, you inch your way forward through the course. Remember, even small steps will get you to your goal. YOU just have to take them! This lesson doesn’t pertain only to college. Take steps forward with any goal. Do it!
Stats on College (The nerd in me likes numbers. Yeah!)
Oreopoulos, P., & Petronijevic, U. (2013). Making college worth it: A review of research on the returns to higher education (No. w19053). National Bureau of Economic Research.
- 2009: Lifetime earnings for an average individual who graduated from college $1.2 million net (after tuition) compared to $780,000 for an average individual who graduated from high school.
- 2011: Unemployment rates for college graduates was 4.4 %, compared to 8.5% for high school graduates.
- In 2011, the average income for a high school graduate was about $34,000 compared to $57,000 for bachelor’s degree holders.
Other benefits of college:
- Meeting friends your age
- Participating in clubs and sports
- Satisfying intellectual curiosity
- Great sense of accomplishment
- Often those who are educated have fewer health problems
P.S. I took the “Do It!” sign picture at the football tournament in California. It hangs on a side wall at Warren High School in Downey, CA.
Thanks for reading! ❤️ I’d love to hear any input you may have!
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