Below are two documents that I wrote for the youth that I am extremely proud of. The first document is entitled: Principal Kafele’s 50 “I’s for Being a Serious Student. It is a list of 50 positive affirmations that I encourage all students to review (and internalize) daily. The second document is entitled: Principal Kafele’s Message of Empowerment for the Youth. It’s an “empowerment plan” to help students to reach their academic and career goals that is also encouraged to be studied and reviewed regularly.
PRINCIPAL KAFELE’S 50 “I’s” FOR BEING A SERIOUS STUDENT
50 Affirmations for Achieving Excellence in School
Copyright © 2010 by Baruti K. Kafele
As a student, it is extremely important that you are successful throughout your years in school. Your grade school education is the foundation for your success. It is my hope that you will strive to achieve academic excellence while simultaneously striving to maximize your potential in all of your classes, each and every year. If success is in fact going to be your reality, I encourage you to make the 50 I’s below a part of your regular routine. Each of the 50 I’s are reflective of who you should be and what you should be doing daily as a student striving to achieve academic excellence in school. I therefore encourage you to review and study this list regularly, while ultimately making it a part of you. As you study the 50 I’s, also be mindful that the key to success is maintaining an attitude that is positive and to always make wise decisions along the way. As long as you do, while simultaneous implementing the 50 I’s, I am confident that the vision of academic excellence will be your permanent reality.
Achievement for Success
1. I am an honor roll student.
2. I am a student of the month.
3. I am an “A” student.
4. I attend school everyday.
5. I arrive to school and class on time everyday.
Characteristics for Success
6. I am serious about my education.
7. I am focused on achieving excellence.
8. I am diligent in my efforts.
9. I am disciplined in my actions
10. I am resilient after setbacks.
Attitude for Success
11. I believe in myself and in my ability to soar.
12. I have a definite purpose for my education.
13. I understand and accept my obligation to excel.
14. I am determined to succeed.
15. I have a vision for my future.
Planning and Preparation for Success
16. I write and post my academic goals and plans for each marking period.
17. I complete all of my homework assignments.
18. I study for a minimum of two hours every evening.
19. I self-reflect and self-assess at the end of each day so that I can come back stronger the next day.
20. I am consistently highly organized with all of my planning and preparation toward my success.
Reading and Writing for Success
21. I read books daily.
22. I read the newspaper daily.
23. I read news-oriented magazines regularly.
24. I spend sufficient time reading books and other materials about my history and culture.
25. I spend sufficient time writing to address, respond to, critique or summarize what I read.
Accountability for Success
26. I focus my attention on my teacher, my teachers’ lesson objectives and my teachers’ lessons.
27. I take copious notes of my teachers’ instruction daily.
28. I ask questions whenever something is unclear or not understood.
29. I hold myself accountable for my classroom success.
30. I accept obstacles as challenges to succeed.
Friendships for Success
31. I surround myself with friends who are positive and goal-oriented.
32. I surround myself with friends who can help me to achieve my goals.
33. I surround myself with friends who are like-minded toward maximizing their potential.
34. I walk away from negative, destructive friendships.
35. I never allow peer pressure to sidetrack me from achieving my goals.
Character for Success
36. I demonstrate respect for myself.
37. I demonstrate respect for my peers.
38. I demonstrate respect for my teachers.
39. I demonstrate respect for every adult in my school.
40. I adhere to all school and classroom expectations.
Choices for Success
41. I am deliberate in doing the right thing – I make wise decisions.
42. I avoid drugs and alcohol.
43. I avoid gangs.
44. I avoid destructive relationships and associations.
45. I avoid trouble by listening to those who can guide me in the right direction.
Leadership for Success
46. I demonstrate pride in being a student at my school.
47. I am a positive role model for my peers.
48. I make a positive difference in my school.
49. I assume a leadership role in my school.
50. I collaborate with staff and peers toward making my school better.
PRINCIPAL KAFELE’S MESSAGE OF EMPOWERMENT FOR THE YOUTH
Copyright © 2010 by Baruti K. Kafele
As a small part of my personal mission toward the educational growth and development of children, I offer this short message of empowerment for the youth. I encourage you to read and study each of the sections in their entirety. I am sure that you will find the information to be motivating and empowering toward your pursuit of attaining and maintaining academic excellence.
I. PRINCIPAL KAFELE’S SEVEN NECESSITIES FOR SUCCESS
You Must Maintain a Positive Attitude
What kind of attitude do you have? Is it positive? Is it productive? If you are going to be a successful student, you must strive to be a positive person, while maintaining an attitude that is both, positive and productive. Your attitude determines your direction in life. It determines whether you are going to move forward or backward – left or right – up or down. As a student who is striving to achieve academic excellence, you must maintain an attitude that says, “I can achieve anything in life that I desire to achieve. No one nor anything can stop me from achieving excellence. The only person that can stop me from achieving excellence IS ME – and I refuse to stop myself from achieving excellence.” Each and every morning when you wake up for school, this is the attitude that you must possess. This is the attitude that you must bring along with you to school every day. This is the attitude that will make you victorious in your pursuit of achieving academic excellence.
As you enter your school each morning, you must strive to maintain a positive attitude throughout the course of your day. Academic excellence will be yours, despite the difficulties and challenges of your classes or even the distractions and challenges of your peers, if you maintain an attitude that is positive and productive. Always remember that your success is all about your attitude. You must therefore consistently maintain an attitude that is positive and productive that boldly proclaims that “I WILL achieve academic excellence!”
You Must Make the Right Decisions
Everything that you do in life is based upon the decisions that you make. Life is full of choices and if you are in fact going to be a successful student, you must make the best decisions possible based upon the choices that you have. For example, your teachers give you homework. You must make the decision as to whether or not you are going to do it. You have tests and quizzes to study for. You must make a decision as to how hard you are going to study. In your classroom, your teacher typically has a lot to say to the class and a lot to write on the board toward preparing you for your tests. You must make the decision as to whether or not you will be focused and attentive, and whether or not you will take notes in your notebook, which I assume you made the decision to bring to class.
Once we make our decisions, consequences follow. They may be good consequences or they may be bad consequences, depending upon the decision that was made. When we make the decision to do and complete our homework, the consequences are good. When we make the decision to study for our tests and quizzes, the consequences are good. When we make the decision to be focused and attentive and to take good notes in class, once again, the consequences are good. On the other hand, when we make the decision to do the opposite of the above, there are also consequences, but these typically turn out to be bad. They usually amount to failure or working way below are potential. I therefore strongly encourage you to always strive to make the right decisions throughout your educational career and your life.
You Must Read
As a student who is striving to maximize your potential, it is imperative that you read on a regular, continual and daily basis. Not only must you read in your classroom, but you must also engage in reading outside of school. Reading is an activity that will allow you to expand your knowledge base to limitless proportions. It will allow you to learn new information and to develop and expand your vocabulary. It will also make you a better reader. Every time that you read, you are actually practicing your reading. As the old adage says, “Practice makes perfect.” We are typically good at the things that we practice. I therefore encourage you to read, read and read, so that you can practice, practice and practice.
Do not be afraid to read. Do not be so lazy that you refuse to read. You must make reading a part of your regular routine. Just like you must breath air, eat food and drink water in order to live, you must read books, newspapers and other literature in order to survive and develop. I caution you however, about the type of reading that you engage in. Negative, destructive reading is not what one needs in order to develop. You must read literature that will enable you to grow intellectually, which includes literature that is motivational, inspirational, uplifting and empowering. The bottom line is that if you truly intend to maximize your potential, you must read on a regular, continual and daily basis.
You Must Write
Reading is such a critically important skill. I encourage my children and students to engage in independent reading on a daily basis. Also important is the ability to write. So many young people struggle with the art of writing simply because they do not engage in the PRACTICE of writing. I encourage you not only to read on a daily basis, but to write on a daily basis as well. You must find time in your schedule to write, write and write! When you write regularly, you become a better writer. When I say you become a better writer, I don’t mean in penmanship solely – I mean that you become a better writer as it relates to sentence construction, organization, usage and mechanics. If you expect to become a proficient writer, you must write regularly.
The content of your writing might take the form of informational essays, persuasive essays, summaries, critiques and reactions to books and articles you’ve read, or simply writing reflections of your thoughts. The bottom line is that I encourage you to read and write independently on a regular, continual and daily basis.
You Must Listen
Listening is a very powerful skill that far too many young people fail to take full advantage of. Through the art of listening, an enormous amount of learning can and will occur. In order to take full advantage of the benefits of listening, one must strive to become an active and effective listener. An active listener is one who deliberately concentrates on listening to the words of the person speaking in order to fully understand the meaning of what is being spoken. An effective listener is one who has mastered the art of listening and therefore reaps the benefits of being a good listener.
In order to become an active and effective listener, your attention must always be focused on the words of the person speaking, without concentrating on how you are going to respond, or being judgmental while the other person is speaking. In a face-to-face conversation for example, as the other person is speaking, you must look the person in the eyes, “with your mouth closed and your ears open,” while concentrating on what the person is saying. If, on the other hand you are concentrating more so on how you will respond or even letting your mind drift to things other than what is being said and therefore not concentrating on the words of the person speaking, you are essentially missing a great deal of what the person speaking is communicating. In order for you to truly take in all that is being said by the person speaking, your focus must be on what the other person is communicating to you.
As you are striving to maximize your potential in your pursuit of achieving academic excellence, you must devote time and energy towards mastering the art of being a good listener; particularly since so much of what you learn is based upon how well you listen to what is being said. Additionally, always be mindful that hearing and listening are not necessarily the same. To hear something means that it was audible to your ears, without you necessarily concentrating on what is being said. To listen to something means that you have deliberately concentrated on understanding what is being communicated. How do you become an excellent listener? It’s very simple – you become an excellent listener by practicing your listening skills.
You Must Think
In addition to proficiency in reading and writing, you must also have the ability to think for yourself. I come across so many young people who refuse to engage in the art of critical and analytical thinking. They would literally rather have someone else do their thinking for them. You must think for yourself. Thinking for yourself allows you to expand your mind.
In thinking for yourself, you must go beyond being a “surface thinker” solely. You must endeavor to think critically, analytically, deeply and thoroughly. Surface thinkers look at everything at face value. Critical, analytical thinkers go far beyond the surface. They look at all aspects of a topic or thing. They don’t accept things at face value. They strive to have full understanding of a thing or topic and therefore look at it and think through it thoroughly. For instance, when analyzing the gap in achievement between African American and white students, the non-analytical thinker will accept this as reality. The analytical thinker on the other hand is going to explore and examine all of the variables as to why this may be. He/she is not going to accept it at face value. He/she is going to look much deeper for answers.
As you continue your journey through school, be sure to always think critically, analytically, deeply and thoroughly about everything you are exposed to.
You Must Learn
As a student, your primary purpose for attending school is to learn. The question is, “learn what?” You must strive to learn everything that you can possibly know. Obviously then, this means that the pursuit of learning must go beyond what you learn in a classroom. Expand your horizons. Expand your knowledge base. Strive to be well-rounded toward the attainment of a wealth of knowledge. Learning does not cease to continue when you graduate from any level of schooling. As a learner, you must develop and maintain the goal of becoming a life-long learner.
II. PRINCIPAL KAFELE’S FIVE KEY INGREDIENTS FOR SUCCESS
My first key ingredient for success is belief. Towards attaining academic excellence, you must believe that it is actually possible. You must believe in yourself and in your ability to achieve academic excellence. It is very difficult to move forward in life and to attain excellence if you do not sincerely believe that it is possible. If you are one who does not believe in yourself, you must ask yourself the question, why. In other words, what makes the next person better than you? You can’t look at someone else as being smarter or better than you. You have the ability to achieve anything in life that you desire to achieve. The only person or the only thing that can stop you, is you. If you allow yourself to defeat you, chances are good that you have done this because you do not believe in yourself.
There was a time when I did not believe in myself and the results were underachievement. Now I believe that I can achieve anything that I set my mind on achieving. I refuse to allow someone else to achieve MY dreams. If it is MY dream, I am going to achieve it. Why? Because I believe in myself and in my ability to achieve my dreams.
You too must believe in yourself. You must tell yourself regularly that “I can achieve excellence. I WILL achieve excellence. No one will stop me from achieving my dreams. Nothing will stop me from achieving my dreams. I am focused and will remain focused on achieving excellence because I BELIEVE IN MYSELF!”
My second key ingredient for success is purpose. As you enter school every day, you must enter with a sense of purpose. A person without a purpose is a person without direction. What is your purpose? What are you about? Why do you go to school every day? What do you want out of your education? In what way can your education assist you toward your pursuit of realizing your purpose?
I am a high school principal, which means that I am an educator. My purpose is to be the best possible educator that I can be so that my students can be the best students that they can be. By having that as my purpose, it challenges me to stay focused on education and my students. It forces me to continue to learn all that I can about being a superb educator. Each day when I enter my school, my mind is focused on my purpose.
You too must be focused on your purpose. If you haven’t determined your purpose in life, now is the time for you to begin to think about it. Think about who you are and what you want to become. Think about what it is that you may want to do with your life. This becomes your purpose in life. Your purpose should drive everything you say and everything that you do – particularly as it relates to school and your education.
Remember, as a student who is striving to achieve academic excellence, it is imperative that you have a purpose for going to school. Your purpose allows you to stay focused on why you’re going to school in the first place.
My third key ingredient for success is obligation. Somebody before you paved the way for you to have the educational opportunities that you have today. If it wasn’t for their sacrifices and commitment, you might not have acquired these opportunities. Now it is your turn. You must demonstrate your appreciation for those who struggled before you by doing all you can to achieve academic excellence. You too must strive to pave the way for those yet to be born. That is what is meant by you making your own sacrifice and making your own commitment toward the forward flow of progress within your community. In other words, failure and average are not an option, you have an obligation to achieve excellence.
My fourth key ingredient for success is determination. In order for you to achieve academic excellence, you must be determined to achieve academic excellence. You must literally desire academic excellence for yourself. You must possess a burning desire to achieve and the will to succeed. In other words, you must be so determined to achieve academic excellence that you will give your all towards achieving it.
I sincerely believe that people can achieve anything in life that they desire to achieve, but they must truly possess a determination to achieve throughout the process. For example, if your parents desire for you to achieve academic excellence and ultimately go on to college, but you do not share the same determination to achieve academic excellence, chances are good that you will fall short of reaching your full potential. You must WANT excellence. You must DESIRE excellence. You must be DETERMINED to achieve nothing less than academic excellence throughout your educational journey.
My fifth key ingredient for success is vision. In order to achieve excellence, you must first envision excellence. Envisioning excellence means seeing yourself achieving excellence even before embarking upon it. Achieving excellence is not something that happens by coincidence or by chance. It happens because you believe that it will happen; you have a sense of purpose; you understand your obligation; you are determined and you have a vision of excellence. Once you have determined that you will in fact achieve academic excellence, it is important that you can actually see yourself in your mind, achieving academic excellence from the outset. This is called seeing excellence in your mind’s eye. Once you can envision excellence, you must take ownership of the vision. You must make it yours and then make your vision of excellence become your reality.
I always say that the most difficult part of achieving excellence and success is to actually envision it first. Many of us will not dare to dream and envision. It’s like we are trapped in tiny little boxes and will not dare to step out. If you are going to achieve academic excellence, you must dare to step outside of the box. You must see yourself achieving something that so many others are not achieving – excellence! You can do it. You can achieve academic excellence if you put it into your mind that this is what you desire to achieve. Once you have locked your vision into your mind and you can actually visualize yourself achieving excellence, the next step is to make it happen. Develop a plan of action, which I will discuss in a later section, and consistently follow your plan until your vision becomes your reality.
III. PRINCIPAL KAFELE’S FIVE CHARACTERISTICS FOR SUCCESS
My first characteristic for success is that you must be serious about learning. In other words, your education is no joke! Your education is serious business and you must treat it as such. You can’t go to school expecting to engage in fun and games. This doesn’t mean that learning cannot be fun, but you must be of the mindset that your education is a serious endeavor. You must therefore enter school each and every day with the attitude that your education is the key to your success and that you must be MOST serious about learning and MOST serious about your education. Laughing, joking, being silly (at the wrong time) have their place, but not in your classroom. Your classroom is the place where the bulk of your learning takes place. You must therefore treat your learning as an endeavor that is to be taken MOST seriously.
My second characteristic for success is that you must be focused on achieving excellence. In other words, when you are focused, just like a projector, everything in front of you is clear. When you are out of focus, everything in front of you is a blur. As a student, your education is what stands directly before you. You must approach it with a clear and narrow focus, while never being distracted by what’s around you, nor behind you. Your focus as a student must be on achieving nothing less that academic excellence.
My third characteristic for success is that you must be diligent in your efforts. In other words, you must be a hard worker. If you expect to achieve academic excellence, you must WORK to achieve academic excellence. This means that when you are in class, you are focused on your teacher, your teacher’s lesson objective and your teachers overall lesson. You must also be attentive in class; you must participate in class discussion; you must ask questions when you do not understand something and you must take “copious” notes in class every day. When you arrive home, you must maintain your diligence. Recreational activities must be secondary. This means that you must complete all homework assignments, you must study every day, both your books and your notes – even when you do not have homework assigned, and you must engage in daily independent reading and writing. The bottom line is that you must be diligent in your efforts – a hard worker – if you expect to achieve academic excellence.
My fourth characteristic for success is that you must be disciplined in your actions. In other words, you must strive to become self-disciplined without having to rely upon others to always tell you what to do. This means that when you are getting yourself ready for school in the morning, you know all that you have to do which includes ensuring that you have all of your assignments, books and supplies, and arriving to school on time. Once there, you know to comply with all school and classroom rules, expectations and requirements, which include behaving appropriately throughout the school day. Then once you arrive home, you know that it is your responsibility to complete all homework assignments, study, read and write. No one has to tell you or remind you of any of the above because you are discipline in your actions toward achieving academic excellence.
My fifth characteristic for success is that you must be resilient after setbacks. Resilient means that you have the ability to bounce back in the event that you have a setback. For example, suppose you studied for a test and you felt that you were prepared to do well, took the test, and scored lower than you expected. This is not the time for you to sit around and sulk about it. This is the time for you think about what you did wrong, think about how you can approach your study techniques differently, study hard and to strive to do much better the next time around, while maintaining an attitude which is positive. When it is time to take the next test, you approach it with the attitude that I am prepared, I am ready, and I am going to achieve an “A.” Once you achieve you’re “A,” you have demonstrated resilience. If you do not achieve the “A,” you start the process discussed above again. In other words, you must continue to strive to bounce back and never allow defeat to become your reality.
IV. PRINCIPAL KAFELE’S BLUEPRINT FOR SUCCESS
A blueprint is a plan. In order for you to achieve academic excellence, you must develop a plan of action, which is rooted in the goals that you have set for yourself. A goal is simply something that an individual sets out to achieve. In the following sections, I will outline how to set goals and develop a blueprint for achieving your goals.
A. Current Standing
Toward setting your goals, you must first determine where you are coming from. Your current standing answers the question, “Where am I now and how did I get here?” You can’t move forward if you haven’t determined where you currently stand and why. In terms of your education, your current standing is all of your last marking period grades in all of your last marking period subjects. On a sheet of paper, which is called a “goal chart,” under the subheading, “Current Standing,” list all of your subjects and list the grades that were achieved in the previous marking period. Beneath, each subject listed, briefly summarize why you have the grades that you have. This is where you currently stand.
After you have determined your current standing, you must now set your goals, which ask the question, “Where am I going?” Your goals are the targets that you are aiming for. They represent where it is that you expect to be by the end of the current marking period. If you intend to achieve academic excellence, you must set realistic goals for yourself towards achieving academic excellence. When I say realistic, I mean that if you earned a “D” in a subject for example, you may not want to set the goal as an “A” just yet. There may be certain skills that you need to develop first. You would therefore set the goal at a “B” while striving to achieve an “A.” This way, when you achieve the “B,” you will feel good about yourself for achieving your goal. If you achieve an “A,” you will feel even better about yourself for exceeding the goal.
On the same “goal chart,” under the subheading “Goals,” list your current subjects. Next to each subject, write your goal for the current marking period, which represents the grades that you are striving to achieve. Keep in mind that whatever the goals are that you set, you must maintain an attitude that you will in fact achieve them. Never can you allow the thoughts of “I can’t,” “It’s impossible,” fear of failure, doubt or uncertainty to enter your thinking. Towards achieving academic excellence, your attitude must always be, “I WILL achieve academic excellence. Nothing will stop me. No one will stop me!”
After you have set and written your goals, it is time to develop your plan of action – your blueprint. Your plan explains everything that you are going to do to achieve your goals. Think of it as your roadmap – it provides you with directions for achieving your goals. Goals without a plan are virtually a waste of time. Anyone can set goals. But the question is, how will you achieve them? What will you do to make your goals your reality? You must develop a plan that explains everything you will do towards achieving your goals.
On the same “goal chart,” once again, list your current subjects, but this time, next to each subject, you are going to write an explanation of what you must do every day and every evening toward ultimately achieving your goals. This will include the amount of time you will devote to studying each of your subjects each evening. As a rule of thumb, you should be devoting at least two hours each evening toward completing homework and studying. Be mindful that although there will be days that you do not have homework assigned, there is always studying that must occur for future tests – particularly if you intend on achieving academic excellence. The amount of time you will devote to studying should be clearly specified in the strategy section of your goal chart. In addition to completing homework and studying, also be sure to include how much time you will devote each day to independent reading and writing.
Once your goal chart is complete, post it on your wall so that you can review your goals and strategy on a regular basis. Below is an outline of a sample “goal chart.” Use this as a model to develop your own.
A. Current Standing
Math – B
Language Arts – A
Science – C
Social Studies – C
Math – A
Language Arts – A
Science – B
Social Studies – B
Math – Write your plan
Language Arts – Write your plan
Science – Write your plan
Social Studies – Write your plan
Your strategy/plan actually helps you to stay organized. If you are going to be successful in school, you must be highly organized. You have a huge number of responsibilities every day throughout the course of the school year. If you are not highly organized, it becomes that much more of a challenge to complete each of your responsibilities. You must therefore have a plan for all that you do, which includes a timeframe for when you will complete all of your tasks. You must also stay organized relative to your classroom notes and homework assignments by maintaining a subject notebook and having folders for each of your individual subject areas to organize your notes and assignments. The key is that you must focus on being consistently highly organized.
V. PRINCIPAL KAFELE’S FINAL THOUGHTS FOR SUCCESS
As I bring this on-line pamphlet to a close, I leave you with five final thoughts toward preparing you for success and empowerment. These thoughts are in the areas of speaking, attire, entrepreneurship, college and friendships.
As one who is preparing for success, you are going to be required to speak with many different people in many different situations. This means that you must have the ability to adjust your speaking to the people or audience you are speaking to. For example, when I interact with my friends, I am very relaxed in my speech and can therefore speak in “Ebonics” or even broken English and slang, and not have to concern myself with how I am being judged. In other words, this form of communication is appropriate for this particular setting. If on the other hand, I am going on a job interview for example, I must have the ability to “switch gears” and speak in standard English. Not because there’s something wrong with the previous forms of communication that I discussed above, but because on a job interview, I am being judged on how well I speak standard English, in addition to the other qualifications that the employer may be looking for. This translates into you having to practice speaking standard English as often as possible so that when you are in situations where it is required, you are prepared.
When I speak of attire, I am once again referring to the job interview or any other form of interview where you have to make an impression on someone in order to be accepted. Your casual attire is not your professional attire. Your casual attire has its place, but not at the job interview. You must be able to distinguish the two. When you go on an interview, you must wear professional attire, which for young men is a business suit including a tie and shoes, and for young ladies is a business suit and shoes as well. This will require you to keep at least one business suit in your closet at all times in the event that an interview arises. This way, you are prepared to make a positive first impression and ultimately land the job.
Entrepreneurship means owning your own business. Certainly, everyone is not going to be an entrepreneur, but everyone should at least consider it. Entrepreneurship enables you to control your own destiny. It enables you to call the shots. It also enables you to have “peace of mind.” More importantly, it puts wealth into your community. I strongly encourage you to consider entrepreneurship in whatever endeavor you plan to pursue. If you want to be a lawyer, consider opening your own law firm. If you want to be a doctor, consider opening your own doctor’s office. If you want to be an architect, consider your own architectural firm. If you want to be an author, consider publishing your books – I did. You can too.
Toward becoming an entrepreneur, be mindful that it requires a degree of risk. You are stepping out on your own, but you can do it. All businesses were started by someone or a group of people that also took risks. Don’t be fearful; don’t have doubt and uncertainty; don’t have an “I can’t” or an “It’s impossible” attitude. Say to yourself that “If others have done it and attained success, why not me? If they can do it, so can I.” Moreover, “If I fail the first time, I will get back on my feet. If I fail ten times, I will be successful on the eleventh!” Again, your attitude must be that “Nothing nor anyone will stop me from achieving my dreams, my goals and my vision!”
Regardless of your current grade level, you should be planning on going to college after graduating from high school – even if you plan on becoming an entrepreneur. Your college degree will give you advanced knowledge towards your business on the one hand, but it will give you something to fall back on, as well. Too many students fail to go to college for a variety of different reasons, and wind up “trapped” on jobs other than what they planned for, or “trapped” on jobs where they are miserable, frustrated, overworked and underpaid. In other words, they are working on a job where there was a job opening as opposed to doing something that they prepared themselves to do. This leads to constant and regular frustration with just getting up in the morning to go to work. Ideally, you should be planning now for your future, which includes preparing yourself to earn scholarships and preparing yourself to go to the college of your choice while studying something that you would like to make a career out of. This is called planning for your future as opposed to just finding a decent paying job.
I hear so many people state that “college isn’t for me.” I strongly disagree with this statement. If there are careers on the other side of college that you see yourself pursuing, becoming successful in and ultimately being happy, college IS for you. Those people who say that, “college isn’t for me,” must understand that college is not the career nor the end all. College is the vehicle to get you to the career. It’s the same thing as riding in a car. Riding in the car is not the goal. Getting to your destination is the goal. The car is the vehicle to get you to where you are going. I therefore strongly encourage you to see college as a vehicle to get you to where you want to be in life. Yes, the work will be challenging at times. Yes, the work will be difficult at times. Yes, the work will be time-consuming at times, but you can do it. You are capable of achieving excellence. You must put forth the effort while preventing the easy way out, such as avoiding college for the wrong reasons. In other words, if not pursuing college is due to laziness, this is the wrong reason! If not pursuing college is due to a fully thought-out plan of action that will not require a college education, but will allow you to realize your dreams nevertheless, then go for it. My personal position is for you to go on to college, regardless of your plan. Whatever you do however, keep your “eyes on the prize” and stay focused on making the best academic and career decisions that you can for your future.
Who your friends are has a lot to do with whether or not you will experience academic success. It is critically important that you examine your friendships and make a determination as to whether or not these friendships are healthy and will therefore contribute toward your overall academic growth and development.
Toward assessing your friendships, you must ask yourself if these friends are moving in the same positive direction that you are. If your friends are serious, focused, diligent, disciplined and resilient as it relates to their education and their futures, then chances are good that your friendships with these individuals are in fact healthy friendships. If on the other hand, your friends are engaged in behaviors and activities that are counterproductive and therefore contradict the positive direction you are headed in, you are consequently in friendships that are potentially unhealthy and hazardous to your academic growth and development. As you are striving to realize and maximize your potential, I strongly encourage you to align and surround yourself with people of like mind who are supportive of your efforts, your goals and your vision. Friendships with people who are negative and moving down a path of destruction are not the sort of friendships that are going to get you to where you need to be. As it is said, “you ARE who you associate with.” Make sure that you always align and surround yourself with other positive, goal-oriented people.
It is my hope that you have gotten something out of this “message of empowerment.” I sincerely hope that you find the information contained in this “message” to be a truly empowering contribution towards your overall educational growth and development as a student. In order to get the most out this information, I strongly encourage you to read the entire message several times. I also encourage you to study it as if you were studying for an exam. Lastly, I encourage you to implement, or put into effect, all of the principles contained in this message. By doing so, I am most confident that you will see tremendous results in your overall achievement in the classroom. It’s up to you in the long run. If you truly desire to achieve excellence, you must put forth the necessary time and effort, and make achieving excellence your number one priority. Also, be sure to never procrastinate, which means to put things off until later. Later comes up so quickly that before you know it, you have missed your deadline. Don’t put off for tomorrow what could have been done today. Stay consistent and disciplined and victory will be yours.