Education and Progress

June 11, 2008
By Brooke Poirot, Anchorage, AK

Words can’t begin to describe the progress in my education during the last month and a half. The idea I came to Atheneum with, the idea of education and learning, has been shattered and thrashed. To tell you the truth, I couldn’t be happier. Starting out, I had a horrible habit of trying, failing, losing hope, giving up and moving on to something else. Slowly, I’ve freed myself from this. The environment I’ve been thrown into lifts you above the inability to overcome your fear of failure and realize that something else is more important.
Recently I became familiar with a concept I hadn’t thought about before, that maybe every time you fail you have gained something, whether or not you don’t think you have. Each time you fail, you see what doesn’t work and maybe some things that do work. I learned that instead of giving up, you need to give it more and more effort. Yet, we have too much control over the ability to give up and the ability to persevere for it to be a personality trait, so we must apply it to everything we do in order to really understand it. You have to constantly push yourself through objection after objection. Once you can put your disbelief behind you and let new ideas in, your motivation flourishes because the most powerful fuel of motivation is believing in yourself, even when you might be the only one doing so. It’s as simple as making the decision to try, and sticking to it even when it’s the last thing you want to do. Winston Churchill said, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal, it’s the courage to continue that counts.” I am really inspired by this because the courage to continue when you want to quit, in my opinion, is the key to any progress and the beginning of the path to success. As you give up, you slam and lock doors of opportunity that you had the chance to open. Atheneum has helped me learn to never walk away feeling like I haven’t achieved anything and not to leave with that door closed. Although it has been hard for me at a new school that is nothing like what I’m used to, what I’ve learned is worth so much more than the struggles I’ve gone through to make it happen. In addition, you should not dwell on the struggle, but on the outcome, not on the endeavor, but on the triumph. Although the struggle gives the outcome its significance, the outcome is what you’ll walk away with, not how many times you failed before you succeeded. When something is difficult for me and I come close to giving up, there’s always that slight temptation to walk away. However, whatever it is that keeps me from stepping down is the most important element in my success.

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