Let me tell you a story. My senior year of high school I thought I had done that needed to be done to get into college. I was a successful 3 sport athlete, All American in track and field, Vice President of the Senior Class, Salutatorian, and a member of various organizations. Because of my student involvement and level of success, I assumed that I would magically get accepted to a school without applying and magically get all the money I need to attend that school.
As I was in the second semester of my senior year there were 2 colleges that I was in serious contact with after visiting a few colleges my junior year. I never applied to any other schools. I applied for very few scholarships because I just knew, with my grades, I wouldn’t have to pay for anything!
So I string one college along as I’m being strung along by the school I felt I wanted to go to then it was time to make a decision. The college that strung me along promised my scholarship to a junior college student that passed his classes and graduated, and the school I strung along gave the scholarship they were offering me to an athlete that ran better than I did at the State Championship. So here I am, the perfect student athlete with no place to go upon graduation. I was the scariest and most embarrassing situation I have ever been in, but it was because I put myself in it.
This experience is my driving force for being as active with my students particularly my seniors in preparing for their lives after high school. Your senior year is what many students have planned for. They have counted down all the years from the moment they understood the concept of grades to now, but what happens after the 12th grade? That can be a frightening reality.
Parents up until now everything has been chosen for them, but after this year, the ball is in their courts. THEY CHOOSE. They choose what school they want to go to, if they want to go to school. They choose the classes they want to take! If they want to enter the military, it’s their choice as to which branch they want to go to, to an extent. Choices are all up to them and for people that have made a career of making the right choice, they don’t want to mess it up.
In their lives there has always been a correct answer, so answering this open-ended question is very intimidating. But the reality is WHATEVER CHOICE YOU MAKE IS THE RIGHT ONE! Even if you have to transfer, you’ve made the right choice because whatever the cause was for transferring is a new life lesson. Even if you fail, you’ve made the right choice because you now see what not to do. In our lives we are so afraid of failure that we wait for someone else to do it first or we don’t do anything at all. That isn’t true success. Mark Manson said it this way, “We can be truly successful only at something we’re willing to fail at. If we’re unwilling to fail, then we’re unwilling to succeed.”
Students remember being afraid is normal! That means it is something we really want. Michael Jordan said it best, “You miss 100% of the shots you do not take,”
What’s not acceptable is you not chasing your dream because you’re afraid. Why spend all this time and energy getting good grades, staying out of trouble, and being active on campus only not to fill out a few applications to give yourself a chance to get scholarships, grants, or get into the school you’ve always wanted to. So stop holding the ball and shoot your shot!
Don’t be like me; Hear all the college advice given(some may be good some may be bad), listen to your counselors, apply for those scholarships, answer those emails, read those letters from colleges, and above everything else EMBRACE THE FEAR OF THE UNKNOWN.
One thought on “Don’t be like me.”
Alonzo, you have been such an inspiration to me since I’ve known of you and even more since I’ve known you. The way you and Terry care about the children leaves me in amazement. I want to help as much as possible when it comes to our children.
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