I am a junior in college, that means that I am going on my seventeenth year of being in school. We spend the majority of our youth in the education system, and if we are fortunate enough, we can continue on to college and then maybe to graduate school. Safe to say, that as young adults, we have a pretty good handle on the routine of going to school and all that that entails. That being said, there are still times where it feels like everything is all over the place, and that no matter how many assignments I complete, there are another five waiting for me to do. This never ending cycle can be exhausting, and makes it hard to know how prioritize which work is “more important”, which leads to things being left half-finished, and half-assed. I sometimes think that in regards to me, less can be more: I believe that if I had less work assigned by each professor, I would be more willing to put in more effort, and ultimately create more work that I would be proud of, which would create a more positive cycle. In the article Brainology written by Carol Dweck, she talks about the power that motivation and effort have on students’ future successes and excitement to continue working. She states, “It is through effort that people build their abilities and realize their potential.” I agree with this statement, I have had first-hand experience with this, however as I mentioned before, I also believe that it is hard to put your best effort into multiple projects at once, which leads to disappointment and a lot of stress. For myself, I strongly believe that my best work is when I am focused, inspired and passionate about the project I am doing. Obviously, I know that not all work will be exactly what we enjoy doing, but I think that steps can be taken in order to heighten the possibilities. I appreciated the piece written by Laura Harrison, The Struggle is Real, I related to many of the points that she brought forward, and I thought that hearing it from her perspective was in some ways reassuring. Hearing a university professor describe her experience taking an undergraduate class, and unexpectedly facing difficult struggles and having to try different techniques in order to succeed in class, was interesting. In her reflection of that experience she touches on some points that stuck out to me: “Grit works when I essentially know what I’m doing and just need to push through the more tedious parts of a task. But when I was truly lost, working harder amounted to running in circles. Doing the same things with more determination did not get me unstuck.” This point resonated with me, as I think it is important to realize that some students are trying their hardest and putting in as much effort as they can, it just may not click and may require more than just effort. Unfortunately, if one puts in effort and does not receive what they thought that work “deserved”, they may begin to lose interest and hope. Although we have spent much of our lives within the education system, it is also okay to recognize ones’ strengths and weaknesses, as we all have them, and work from there in order to succeed.

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One Comment

  1. Good thoughts on the readings here. You zoomed in on one of the key points from “The Struggle Is Real”, I think — we often say that struggling students should just work harder, but it’s probably the minority of cases where that alone would be enough. Other approaches and other resources are necessary, and we’re all continually learning how to learn.

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