New School Year, New Me

With the new school year, goals and wishful thinking get confused for each other as students set unrealistic expectations for themselves


Cartoon by Summer Aguirre

“If you learn good habits now and try hard in class, high school will be easier for you,” my seventh grade history teacher told me. I rolled my eyes and thought, “I’ll deal with high school when I am in high school.” Well, my first day of high school arrived a lot faster than I thought it would. The reality soaked in that all my efforts to procrastinate only backfired when it was time to get my school work together. Many students, like myself, enter high school thinking that their work ethic can change overnight, only to realize that hard work is required to make that happen.

In one way or another, I, along with many of my peers, looked at freshman year as a restart button. It was the perfect opportunity to start off on a better foot and get the grades that weren’t just passing, but exceptional.

I had assumed that if I told myself that I need to work hard and get good grades, then that would be the outcome. Though saying those things and doing those things are completely different. As the saying goes, “If you put your mind to it you can achieve anything.”

Psychologist Angela Lee Duckworth found that students who succeeded the most in school were those that had the most passion and perseverance towards their long term goals.

Though I did eventually step up to the plate and put the effort in, I learned that a complete transformation isn’t a reasonable expectation at the start of the school year. Comparatively speaking from how I was in middle school to how I am in high school, my study habits and work ethics have changed significantly, but that didn’t happen all at once. Setting my goal in the beginning of the year to work harder was an important first step, but sticking to the goal took more persistence and effort than what I had initially expected.

A new school year does give the chance to have a fresh start with new teachers and new students, but as Duckworth said, passion and perseverance are key ingredients for success.

As Duckworth put it, “Grit is sticking with your future, day in, day out, not just for the week.”

So yes, you should aim high in the beginning of this school year and set goals you want to achieve, but don’t aim aimlessly. Aim with dedication.