In high school, my school had interim reports that went out halfway through each quarter—I hated them. Not because I feared my grades were horrible… but because my mom got to see it. I hated when my mom saw interim reports. Interim reports (unlike report cards) showed every , single, individual grade for each assignment. And they always gave interim reports out during open house. My mother never missed an opportunity to come and speak to my school. On my interims, I could have a 98….. no seriously a 98… 2 points from perfect…and my mother would do her best Law and Order interrogation on why I had an 80 on a warm-up assignment from the first week of class. Like Ma…. why are we doing this and furthermore… why are we doing this HERE… can we do this at the house????!!! 🙄🙄😤
In college, I had a great work ethic— in everything except the classroom. I remember vividly sleeping on the front row of my introductory Bio course. Or never studying for psychology, showing up and taking a test not even knowing we had one that day. I was young and naive—over confident in the abilities I showcased in high school. It was cool and all until I ran into Anatomy. Long story short… I took 2 semesters of anatomy and each time I needed a 95 plus on the final exam to make a C…. But anatomy was where I met one of the biggest academic influences I’ve had. She was my lab partner and my observation of her has literally placed me where I am today. (Hope she reads this cause I’ve never told her). She was “that” student. The student who made full PowerPoints to prep for each anatomy lab practical. These slideshows would reach 150 slides regularly. As her partners all we had to do was point out the structure, email her the pictures and she would create the power complete with descriptions, diagrams, and color coordination. She never left the lab without understanding the purpose of each structure. At the end of the semester… while I needed a 95 to get a C… she needed a 15 (or something like that) to maintain her A. Mmhm let that sink in. Now usually we would have a certain disdain or jealousy for a student of this caliber but with her, you couldn’t. She was humble, down to earth… made you almost forget she was Michael Jordan with a microscope. But listen…. she studied for the exam. Yes… she studied just as hard as I did for the exam. How do I know…. you doggone right I studied right along with her… for days… hours. Mimicking her every move. She’s going into her last year of dental school now…. I made a 98 on that last exam too. 😎
That turned my academic career around! I was straight after that… straight As!!—— nah I’m just playing. After that I failed organic chemistry… took it again.. D… took the second part.. little better this time with a C. There we some other C’s sprinkled throughout college but this was the toughest time because I was still not putting in the effort necessary yet I was SURPRISED with poor performance. A lot of us do it in different ways throughout life. Eat like trash, never work out, but cry when we gain that quick 20. Cheat on your significant other, never show them their worth, but upset when they move on. Crazy right?! It’s like we have chance after chance to get something right… we screw it up… over and over again… and then we act brand new when all of our prayer points run out.
In the spirit of graduation, end of the school year, grad school/med school/job application season…. I said all of this to illustrate the growth of myself in my education and how much I value it now. I’ll tell you what I learned.
• I hated what my mother did then but I love and appreciate her so much because the lesson has come full circle. Life isn’t going to always be about the end goal. It’s about the small details within the process it took to get there. If you spend your whole focused on the fact that you getting As by any means necessary, you will most certainly miss the opportunities to learn from those 60s, 70s, and 80s that ultimately build your character.
• Speaking of details, my lab partner understood the details. She was never complacent in her pursuit. She practiced habits of greatness that I had never seen before. I still think she is crazy for studying for that last test…. but it showed me that there a levels to this. If I wanted the success she had… I needed to push myself to that level in the classroom. O couldn’t give up when I felt I didn’t understand something or it was too hard. It didn’t happen overnight. Hell it took years to make real progress towards it. But I’m here now though… who gon check me? 😉🤷🏽♂️😛
• Lastly…there will be setbacks, there will be pitfalls. Even when you take a step in the right direction there will be obstacles that force you stumble, reevaluate, and bounce back. But life isn’t about the “when” it’s about the “what”. Failure doesn’t define you. Persistence does. Determination does. Character does. All of these are things that aren’t on your transcript…. or your degree for that matter. Put in the work exceeding the results you expect to see. Treat every opportunity as if it’s your last chance. The last internship application, the last test of the semester, the last research opportunity. We don’t get but so many chances to get it right.. don’t waste em.
And by all means please remember… don’t be consumed in what others think, believe or say. Whether they hate you or congratulate you.. it doesn’t matter, “No one can take from you what God has for you” —-