Wednesday, January 1, 2014

New Year's Resolution: Have the Heart of a Champion

It's 2014, and everyone is writing about their new year's resolutions. I would love to describe in detail all of my goals and resolutions, but I'm not. Instead, I'm going to write about how to keep a winning mentality, which I believe is the key for all achievement.

I would classify myself a reformed academic loser. That may sound a bit harsh, but it's the truth. In high school, I lived in a complete daze, not that I was on drugs or alcohol, that was never a problem for me. It was more my lack of caring, my lack of trying, my belief that I would not succeed, so why bother? I entered each class with a very low expectation of what I would achieve. I remember some teachers becoming frustrated with me, because on the outside, I looked like a kid who had it all together. But, I didn't, deep down inside, I felt like a fraud, a loser. I still got through high school as an average student with an average GPA, but my math SAT scores were horrible. So, as a freshman at Georgia State University I landed myself right into a remedial math class. I was told I'd have to complete three remedial math classes before I could even begin College Algebra.

In my first remedial math class, as a young, fresh faced eighteen year old from a small suburban town, I walked into an urban classroom consisting of loud, unruly students. The professor was a middle aged white guy, timid, and unsure how to handle this vocal class of students. As he tried to offer the lesson, the other students yelled, threw papers, listened to music, and ate their snacks without any regard to the lesson. Sitting there, witnessing this chaos surrounding me, I thought, "What have I done to myself? How did I end up here?" It was a tipping point for me.

I began to focus. I realized that if I wanted to get out of this mess, it would be up to me, and no one else. So, I began to study, and study hard. As a result, I was able to test out of the next two classes, and get into a College Algebra class. I ended up getting a "B" in that class, and I never took another math class again.

Now, I wish high school had been different for me, but then again, maybe the final lesson was worth it. The biggest lesson was the realization that we all have weaknesses, but just because a certain area in our lives is difficult, that doesn't mean achievement is impossible. Most things in life don't come easily, and perfection is not the key to achievement. The key lies in having a goal, getting up, trying with a full heart, and knowing that by giving our best everyday we are champions already!

So, as I begin a new year, I will remember to keep a heart of a champion, knowing there will be highs and lows, and but that goals can be reached, achievement is possible, and glory can be found.


Beth said...

I find this a touching expression of your journey to where you are today. And you are right, many of us go through some such experience that catapults us to the place where we want to be, if we are awake and if we believe we are capable. Good job!

middlegradesteacher said...

Thanks, mom! It was a very tough past experience to write about. But, it was a strong lesson on my part. I'm proud to say I overcame, and would now consider myself a high achiever. I believe in teaching we must remember that most students want to achieve. They may just be battling an inner world we are just unaware of-- perseverance is at the heart of all great teachers. Thanks for responding!