What is Worth Doing?

Barbara
Barbara Wolf Shousha, UNHS Director

“Anything worth doing is worth doing well.” While it is a well-intended thought meant to elevate our work towards quality and perfection, I do not like its overall meaning.

If you perceive something is worth doing, then do it. If it is worth doing, then do it badly! You will either find it so worthwhile that you will improve or you will enjoy the experience and then turn your attention to other things that you will do well. But there is NOTHING to be gained by sitting out some activity you want to engage in because you may be perceived as not doing it well.

  • H. Macy of Macy’s started seven failed businesses before finally hitting it big in New York City.
  • Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper editor because he “he lacked imagination and had no good ideas.”
  • Albert Einstein was refused admittance to the Zurich Polytechnic School.
  • Oprah Winfrey was fired from a position as a television reporter because she was “unfit for TV.”
  • Stephen King’s first book received 30 rejections.
  • Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team.

These are some high performing people, but not because they were immediately and consistently good at their chosen activity. They were driven by a love of the activity or competition or performance. They would not have even understood the question, “Is it worth doing?”

The point is: YOU decide what is worth doing.

I love to sing. I do not sing particularly well, but it is worth doing because I enjoy it! I like the energy and well-being that comes from singing out loud. And the more I do it, the better I become. I am improving and making myself worthy of the activity I enjoy.

Maybe you like to write, or run, or cook, or ski…. Do it. I cannot tell you if it is worth it; but I can tell you that YOU ARE worth it! 

Source: 50 Famously Successful People Who Failed At First – OnlineCollege.org. (2010, February 16). Retrieved June 15, 2016, from http://www.onlinecollege.org/2010/02/16/50-famously-successful-people-who-failed-at-first/

Perseverance

Debby
Debby Bartz, UNHS Academic Adviser

As an adviser, I work with seniors who go through many emotions in their final months of high school. Some are very anxious to graduate and complete their courses earlier than expected, some will continue to pace themselves to the finish at the planned time, and some want to slow down as they near to end to enjoy their high school years a while longer.

No matter how they are feeling, all have choices to make as they near graduation. Whether they want to go faster or slower to the finish line, my wish for all seniors is to capitalize on perseverance and lead yourself to many joys along the way.

I’ve been blessed by perseverance as a lifetime student. My history thrives around the ongoing pursuit of knowledge for either personal, social, sustainable, or professional goals. I’ve climbed a mountain of tasks, rolled down the hills, landed in pastures and pushed through to a finish line to find the beginning of new goal. I find the glory of overcoming any obstacle with perseverance.

Perseverance may be hard to find when you’re in high school and only starting to learn about yourself as a learner and a young adult. How can you find and capitalize your own perseverance?

  • Spend time with family and friends.
  • Learn something new to keep your tank full and brain working.
  • Work with a team to care for others.
  • Be grounded to deal with the tethered threads of life choices.
  • Find courage to keep learning new skills.
  • Explore creativity.
  • Wear a smile every day!

The choices you have to make like when to graduate and what to do after graduation may be scary—change always is. All you need to do is live with hope, a big shovel of resiliency, and two buckets of perseverance. I promise you will make it through!

The End Goal of High School

Hugh
Hugh McDermott, UNHS Principal

High school principals and teachers value all of the experiences, activities and opportunities that students have along the way, but make no mistake, the end goal is to give students their diplomas.

When that day and hour arrives, the moment is indescribable! Parents, grandparents, friends and former teachers all raise their heads to acknowledge their students and how proud they are of them for attaining this rite of passage.

Students are capped and gowned. Teachers and other staff have taken their various places for the ceremony but also to do what they do best, help students even in this most anxious time to make this very special event—the best ever. There is an electricity and buzz in the air like no other.

As you work toward this most prestigious accomplishment, here are some things to think about:

  1. What am I doing to reach my graduation goal—right now?
  2. If my grades are not what I want them to be, what can I change in my study habits, right now, that will lead to better grades?
  3. If I need tutor help, who can I turn to, to make this happen?

Graduation opens an infinite number of opportunities and adventures!
And remember, the teachers and staff are there to help you reach that goal.

“The Next Play”

Ray
Ray Henning, Academic Adviser

In sports competition, what is the most important play?

You are likely to get many different answers depending on who you ask. However, to most coaches, the correct response they want from their athletes is, “the next play”.

This is a vital message coaches need to communicate to his/her team and individual players. Participants cannot be focused on what previously took place on the field, court, etc. All of their attention needs to be on what is going on in present time. If an athlete is still thinking about what just happened—either positive or negative—it takes away from their concentration on the next action.

Similarly, as you work on your academics, it is important to keep your focus on what you are currently doing. If you just had a grade you really like or one that was not so fantastic, you need to refocus and get your attention on what you are doing now. This enables you to do the best you can on the current project, assignment, test, or evaluation.

Learn from your past and prepare for your future, but focus on what you are learning today!

What is the “next play” for you?

Resilience

Hugh
Hugh McDermott, UNHS Principal

As a former English teacher, there are some words I just love—like “resilience.” I love its meaning and what it stands for, and it’s very easy for me to conjure a mental picture of resilience.

One of the definitions Webster provides for resilience is, “an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change.”

As a principal I have witnessed many students demonstrate resilience. Students who struggled to pass their courses, their resilience showed strongly. These students knew they were struggling in their classes—some had been struggling academically for years!

Sometimes as a teacher, counselor or principal, we would learn and discover more about these students outside of school. It was then we better understood the word resilience! Many times these students came from very difficult personal situations—a broken family, abuse situations or low income. Even though they were dealing with these problems, many did not have an attendance problem. They liked being at school, and once we figured out together how they could be successful, there was nothing stopping them from overcoming anything.

I think resilience springs eternal and internal within each of us. Everyone exudes some resilience, but how one nurtures it makes us all different. Many students who struggle on a daily basis with life around them have resilience but at times it must seem almost like it is extinguished. Others guard and protect what resilience they have because they feel it is all they have. No matter the situation, your resilience will pay off if you work hard enough.

As educators, we carry a responsibility of inspiring hope within all our students. Students have their hopes and dreams, whatever they are, and it is our job to encourage them, support them and motivate them into believing anything is possible.

What examples of resilience have you witnessed or what have you overcome?

Comparison- A Good or Bad Thing?

Ray
Ray Henning, UNHS Academic Adviser

Something that is done a lot in our society is comparison.

People compare themselves with others in many aspects of life. Some of the common areas of comparison are appearance, athletics, education, occupations, possessions, finances, etc. We can feel good or bad about ourselves depending to who or what we are being compared.

Former U.S. President, Teddy Roosevelt, once said, “Comparison is a thief of joy.”

Personally, I have mixed feelings about comparisons. My competitive side sometimes likes to see where I rank to others, but I also realize many comparisons are not fair.

For example, having worked in education for almost 40 years, I have witnessed schools being compared by test scores and designated good or bad based solely on these scores. Obviously, the student clientele at all schools is not the same. To say a school is better because their test scores are higher than another school, may have just a lot to do with who is at the school, rather than what or how the students are being taught.

Using an athletic illustration, imagine two athletes, one with a talent level of ten and the other with a talent level of five. The first athlete is performing at a six and the second athlete is performing at a four. Although a six is higher than a four, the first athlete is using only 60% of his/her ability and the second athlete is performing at 80% of ability—so who is the better athlete?

Thus, perhaps a better way to use comparison is in the area of self-analysis. Are you getting better in whatever areas you are striving to improve?

  1. A good first step is to identify a baseline, a starting point.
  2. The next step is to work to get better and you need to check periodically if you are showing growth.

I particularly like this quote from the famous UCLA basketball coach, John Wooden:

“Success is the peace of mind, which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.”

Things to consider: Would you describe yourself as a success? How about reducing the amount of time you spend comparing yourself to others, but taking a good look at the person in the mirror?