Everyone has traveled a different path on the road of learning, and each individual finds their own path special in some form or another. Mine was no different.
The single most impactful experience on my life as a learner, wasn’t in fact a single moment, but years worth of experiences in athletics that have helped form me into the learner I am today. Without athletics, I would undoubtedly have given up along the way in regards to my classroom efforts. Athletics taught me to persevere through challenging times, and all the while taught me to set reasonable goals. Of which now, I am a strong believer in goal-oriented achievement. That inner drive that was instilled in me during athletics, has since carried over into my academic life.
The first major challenge I faced in my academic life was my Honors Algebra II class. Until this class, I was a straight A student and would never consider the option of getting anything less than an A. However, my academic career had become enveloped in doing what it took to get an A, and not actually learning the material or enjoying the process. With that, I struggled day-in and day-out with Algebra II. When report cards came in at the end of the year, was I heartbroken to see that C on that piece of paper, but I knew that I gave it my all and learned more in this class than probably any other class where I received an easy A. With this experience in this particular class showed me, it’s not all about the grade you receive at the end of the semester, but what you truly learned along the way and what you will carry with you the rest of your life.
As a senior in high school, we were all assigned to build Senior Exit Portfolios of our academic careers. From the start, I hated the assignment and thought that it was “pointless” and a “waste of time”. Naturally, with my mindset so low, I put it off. Weeks went by, then the months began to turn. We had the whole school year to complete the task, but it wasn’t until the announcement was given that all students who do not have the portfolio completed will not be able to walk on graduation day. This announcement was given two weeks before the end of the semester. Hearing this I scrambled to put together a portfolio so I could walk. What I learned from this was, even though you may hate the assignment, or think its “pointless”, procrastinating only brings you more stress in the end.
Another impactful moment came from my older brother. At the time it was summer, but for him at the end of that summer he would be taking the BAR exam to hopeful become a lawyer in Kansas. Instead of relaxing for the summer and studying the last couple days before the test (like I would have) he spent the entire summer studying. Spending more than 6 hours a day looking at notes, lectures, or texts. Watching him studying so passionately, showed me that I need to take my academic life more passionately and step up my studying game to another level.
At the end of the day, you have to enjoy and find learning fun. Otherwise, you’re not going to make it far and you’re going to hate every minute of it. It was my 4th grade teacher, Mrs. Celestin, who made learning fun. She made me enjoy waking up every morning for school. I credit her for putting the fun in my academic career.