During my junior year of high school, my guidance counselor recited a Thomas Edison quotation to me: “Success is 10% inspiration, 90% perspiration.” At the time, I thought the quote was solely talking about success and working towards it, but as I move into my sophomore year of college, I have come to realize that this quote is not only about success, but also about perseverance.
Throughout my short 19 years of life, I have noticed that it’s not always the smartest person that succeeds, but rather the one who works the hardest. The classmates who I saw struggling throughout high school are the same classmates who are preparing to return to college both in-state and out. However, some of the classmates who didn’t have to work so hard because school came easy to them, find themselves either on academic probation or unable to return to the university. The students with the 3.5 and 4.0 GPAs in high school didn’t suddenly stop caring, and the students with the 2.0 and 2.5 GPAs didn’t become geniuses overnight. So, what happened? Kids who were forced to work hard have developed study habits that they took to college with them. Those who didn’t work so hard are struggling to develop those same habits. It’s truly amazing how the tables have turned.
Just this summer, I’ve had to give myself a talk when it comes to this topic. This summer, I decided to take a math class. Math and I have had a hate-hate relationship since my junior year in high school, so I knew this wouldn’t be easy. No matter how hard I studied or how many hours I spent in the math lab, I still couldn’t grasp some of the concepts. I was so frustrated that I contemplated dropping the course and taking it next summer, but something in me whispered “just keep trying.”  I listened, continued with the class, and practiced more. I am proud to report that I earned an “A” as my final grade.
History has taught us this with the story of the Tortoise and the Hare that perseverance warrants success every time. To the little girl that doesn’t catch on to fractions the first time or the girl who doesn’t like reading because of the complicated words, keep trying – it will all pay off in due time.
Do you have a story of perseverance? Or have you ever advised someone to just “keep on keeping on?”