Colin Wilkinson: Swan Song

Colin Wilkinson

Senior year is almost over, and it’s gone by rather fast. There are lots of things I haven’t done and some things I wish I did differently. High school has been a pretty wild ride, and now that I’m finally getting off I thought I’d share some advice I’ve been given over the years.

I think the best advice I’ve ever been given was that you should strive for perfection, but don’t let perfectionism get in the way of recognizing good work. Just because you didn’t get a perfect score on a test or your essay didn’t come together the way you thought it would, doesn’t mean you didn’t do a good job. More often than not people push you to set high expectations of yourself, but setting high expectations doesn’t mean setting impossible expectations. You should set your standards high, but not so high that you’ll never reach that standard. Plus, when you exceed said standard it feels really good. Personally, I’ve set moderate expectations for myself, and then slightly increased those expectations year by year. In my freshman year, I wanted to at least get a B in English, then in my sophomore year, I wanted to get a B+ in English, and so forth.

Another great piece of advice is to never stop trying, even if you’re failing. I’ve never been that good at math — in fact, I kind of suck at math. In most of my high school math classes, I average Cs and Ds, and rarely I can achieve a B. These aren’t the grades that I want to get, but even though I try my best I still do poorly. It is disheartening to try your absolute best and still fall short of your desired grade. But the one thing that’s more important than grades or expectations, is that you’re trying. If your teachers see that you’re trying, they’ll understand your struggles and will be more likely to help you out.

When I’m doing schoolwork sometimes, I get stuck and don’t know what to do. Sometimes it’s a math problem, or an English essay, or a chemistry equation, but it’s always a problem I don’t know how to solve. The best thing that I (or you) should do is ask for help, and for the longest time, I didn’t. I’ve always had this idea that if I asked for help it would be an admission of failure and that solving problems on my own would increase my understanding. If you’re like me, don’t do this. Ask for help when you need it because it matters more than your pride.