The Going to College 101 student newsletters this month, which focus on Tenacity, have titles with words like showing up, on time, finish line, and when one door closes another opens.
Tenacity, which is an essential ingredient of Grit, is useful when it is applied to a mission, project, or goal that is relevant.
Oftentimes people, and in this case students, lose steam and don’t finish the task at hand. In this pandemic, situation tenacity must be paired with common sense to make sure the mission, project, or goal is realistic, manageable, and relevant. That is a tall order for students, their parents, and the counselors who guide them.
I’m going to take a look at those titles to see if they will pass the realistic, manageable, and relevant test. Showing Up is Half the Battle is true not just for 9th graders but for everyone. We often don’t even try to do something because we’re convinced we must do it perfectly. Perfection is hard to measure because it is a perception that is open to discussion. Just showing up ready to work is a realistic step, and in most cases is manageable. It’s relevant because getting to the goal can’t happen without showing up and taking the first step.
Finish. On Time. Finishing an assignment, task, or project is not easy but it is a realistic way of measuring if a student is making progress in high school. Simply, you know you’ve got it if you finished it and it works, right? Those who don’t finish on time are either ahead of the curve because they’ve gone off to try something else, or have gotten left as the herd moves on. What’s more relevant– learning the academic work in high school or if finishing the work on time? Our job as adults is to break down how to be able to finish the work, on time, into steps.
When you are running in a race, or working on a project, and you see the Finish Line Tape you may push ahead to finish strong, just collapse because it was harder than you gave yourself credit for, or feel sad because you were actually enjoying the process more than the outcome. If you are looking at the finish line tape it was realistic and manageable, so the question to ask is if it’s been relevant. That is a big, complicated question.
And, we’ve all heard When One Door Closes Another Opens. It takes great bravery to shut the door on options, experiences, or possible answers.
Choose to take a specific class, accept only one college offer, raise your hand, open your mouth in class, and finish high school are all examples of closing a door. Actually doing any of these things feels much more realistic after it’s done. Once the door is closed the manageable steps that you’ve taken become clearer. The relevancy comes in the review of how it happened, and the application of how to use the experience for the next set of steps.
We show our grit when we stick with something to the end.
Navigating this pandemic means we need to be sure what we’re sticking with is relevant to what a new normal will become, and then we can figure out what we can realistically do, and finally how we can do it in manageable steps.