Don’t EVER Give Up

The other day I was catching up with an old friend, whom I have known since I was about nine to ten years old. He is one of my older brother’s best friends, and we were discussing college. He is currently a senior at Wake Forest, and I was discussing with him my experience with applying to college and told me the story of how he had been deferred and ultimately denied to his top two choices: Harvard and Duke. He had a 5.0 weighted GPA, was a four-year starter in football at Athens Drive, and an Eagle Scout among his many other accomplishments. He discussed how it crushed him to be denied from his top two choices but how it helped him come down to earth. He explained how he was glad where he ended up and how he is glad everything worked out. He never gave up hope because he had been told he was not good enough or did not make the cut.

This time of year, is incredibly stressful, for most Apex students. New classes, new teachers, and new people in your classes. Just as you began to get completely comfortable in your classes, they switched up on you. Seniors are applying for their dream colleges and getting different responses back. Opening the letters on your computer and peering for the first capital “C” is the hope for many. But what happens when that is not the first word? What happens when you are deferred, or rejected, or even waitlisted? Should you still consider that school as an option, or let it float away in the mind like a receipt from the store, you must first consider this: What is your dream, and why is that your dream? Is that school your dream, and why is it your dream? What do you want in life in fifteen years, but what do you want in life in one year? We so often give up on our dreams when one small thing sidetracks it. Maybe you had a dreadful day, or you are busy, or you will do it later because you are currently texting your friends. A dream is simply a goal that has yet to grow feet and start moving. If this is truly your dream, there are three things you must do to make it a reality.

1) Make it a goal. Whether you use an agenda, or you take pictures, or you simply remember things, write down your goals. A friend of mine has his goals hanging on his wall, that he printed out from word. This is the key fundamental to never giving up. If this is truly who you are and who you want to be, you will make your dreams a goal. If your dream is a goal, you will start thinking of the ways to make it a reality. “My dream is to join the Military.” What have you done to make your dream a goal? Have you started to work out and eat a healthy diet? You can dream all you want, but if this is something you truly want, you will do your best to make it happen. If you want to get into your dream college, you will do your best to make the best grades you can. Settle for nothing less than your best and hold yourself accountable for everything you do. Treat each and every assignment like it is a test. If this is truly what you want in life, you will make your dream a goal.

2) Live in the “when” mindset, not the “if” mindset. Most people say something as simple as “If I become a millionaire, I will….” Or they might say “If I become a professional athlete, I will…” This is one of the most dangerous mindsets, and you will understand why in a second. When you live in the “if” mindset, you are saying “if it happens” or “it might happen.” If this is truly your dream, it will be a when. When you turn a dream into a goal, you are heading down the “when I become a millionaire” pathway. You are going to turn your dream into a reality. Another example is about college. I was on the phone with my older brother, and we were discussing colleges and my chances of getting into NC State. I started to say, “If I get in..” and stopped myself. “When I get in…” When you say “when I become” or “when I am” you are assigning no “deadline” to your goals. You are acknowledging that there are multiple ways to reach your end destination. When you say “if” you are assigning a now or nothing. Start living in the “when” mindset, and you will start accomplishing your dreams.

3) Realize that success comes from failure. I was having a discussion with some friends about being deferred from NC State. All three of us had, and one was upset. I made it a point to tell her that you must PROVE to NC State that you are worthy candidate. When you fail in life, most people are naturally inclined to do better. Let’s say for examples sake that you fail a math quiz. You get a fifty-five, and you do not like that. What do you do? You start using your available resources, Khan Academy, practice, friends, and staying after school to get help for the teacher. The test day comes around, and you get a ninety-three on the test. That is success, and it came from failure. Most people think that failing in life is a terrible thing or that people will judge you for failing. Just remember in life that you are your own cheerleader, and nobody will ever believe in you as much as you will. Your objective in life should not be to fail, but your objective should be to find the success from failing. Instead of sitting around and feeling sad, or angry you did not get into your dream college, prove to them that you belong apart of the freshman class. Work hard in school, continue to do extracurriculars, and prove to them you are a worthy candidate, just as much as everybody. After all, what does moping around in sadness do for you?

In conclusion, you can never ever give up on your goals. If you are truly interested in achieving your goals, you will work towards them, live in a “when” mindset, and realize the success that comes from failure. I wish everybody the best of luck in getting into their Dream College and remember where hard work gets you. But most importantly, live with this quote always in your ear. “Don’t give up; don’t ever give up.” -Jimmy Valvano

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