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You Get What You Work For

By Nicolas Pokora, Grade 12
692,040. You may hear that and think, wow, that’s a big number. That’s how many hours the average person is alive for. 229,961. That is how many hours the average person sleeps in their lifetime. 462,079 is the number of hours left to pull up your sleeves and get to work to achieve your goals and dreams.
Something that was instilled in me at a young age is that hard work isn’t all talk. It’s defined by the effort and results that come from it. When something is important enough to you, you do it, even if the odds are against you. Life isn’t fair, and I think this past year is a prime example of this. Don’t live your life expecting it will sort itself out, because wishing for something does not make it happen, unfortunately. To do well on a quiz or an essay, you must study and work hard at it. To achieve your goals at school you need to organize your day and focus on what you want to achieve. This is the key to success, plain and simple. In the words of Bud Keene, snowboarder Shaun White’s coach, “Visualize it, then do it.” See your goals, see yourself where you want to be. Whether you are in Grade 7, 10 or 12, you are here to build a solid foundation for your future, so do the best you can, every day. There is no substitute for hard work, and the only thing stopping you is your mindset.
Here are some of the excuses we all use. “It is too hard. it’s too long. I do not have time…” We always find ways to blame other things or people when things are not going our way. But often, all you need is a simple attitude change. I know that this is a lot easier said than done. I am guilty of it too, don’t get me wrong. Personally, I used to struggle with this when it came to studying. I always waited until the last minute to complete an assignment, finish an essay or simply study for a test. It's not that I did not care about homework or my schoolwork, it's just that sometimes the motivation to do it simply was not there. I’ve learned lessons over the years and developed better habits. Now I can say it's important to always stay positive and to organize what you must do, so you do not get overwhelmed and too stressed about it.

If you recognize this in yourself, just try this: Next time you have an assignment or a project of, try taking a stab at it that day, even if it's just for 15 minutes. You will get a clear idea of what needs to be done and can put a plan in place to get it done on time. Maybe you will realize you need to do more research, maybe you will realize you need clarification or help from a teacher. By taking a glimpse early on, you eliminate a lot of the last-minute stress because you know what to expect. That way you will stop stressing about it and having to think how long it's going to take to do when you will eventually start it.

 Hard work and determination do not just apply to your schoolwork. It applies to all aspects of your life, including building and maintaining healthy relationships and taking care of yourself. Do not take anything for granted. Be disciplined and develop good daily habits. Push yourself a little more every day and ask yourself, what can you do today and tomorrow to improve your chance to succeed? You most likely already know the answer to that if you think about it for a minute. You just need to put it into practice.
You don’t get what you wish for, you get what you work for.