Dedicated Effort

Shanna - Ames, Iowa
Entered on January 7, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30

Throughout my life, hard work, discipline, and responsibility have been demanded of me. Whether it was my soccer coach’s conditioning drills, my band director’s rhythm exercises, or my teacher’s long and involved homework assignments, I’ve had to learn how to make myself do things I don’t always want to do. Though the process of achieving difficult tasks is rarely enjoyable, I’ve come to find great worth in the end results. I believe in the power of self-discipline and dedicated effort.

Beginning in fifth grade, I was assigned masses of homework almost every night. Worksheets, reading assignments, papers, and projects suddenly began consuming my time outside of school. It wasn’t easy training my brain to stay focused on schoolwork. I had already spent the entire day concentrating on the subjects. As I moved into middle school and high school, my assignments only increased in number and difficulty. Nonetheless, I managed to maintain a steadfast intensity. My intent was to simply fulfill course requirements. However, I developed skills in time management, organization, and self-discipline at the same time. These skills have proven to be invaluable. I frequently apply them to sports, music, family responsibilities, and my health.

Humans are by nature lazy. We’re always looking for the easiest way out of things. Think about a typical high school class. The moment the teacher gives an assignment, the students unanimously let out a moan of disapproval. Society’s expectations are too low as it is, yet most people still manage to get away with doing as little work as possible. People run screaming from responsibility because it involves commitment and self-sacrifice. Unfortunately, individuals who find a way to dodge the pain of hard work, miss out on the victory of achieving something extraordinary. Most things of real significance come only as a result of genuine effort.

The satisfaction of successfully reaching a goal is well worth the time and energy necessary to achieve it. I can’t count the number of times I’ve faced obstacles in tackling my schoolwork. With a pounding headache and droopy, tired eyes, I’ve pounded my fist on the desk in utter frustration. I’ve longed to give up. Yet, the feelings of contentment and accomplishment I’ve felt after producing a well-written essay or finishing a challenging calculus assignment have propelled me forward. They have helped me to see the value in enduring unpleasant things. Without hard work, our world would not be where it is today. Achievements in science, technology, and medicine have shaped our society in amazing ways. These advances did not come without struggles or setbacks though. They required an almost endless supply of perseverance and determination.

I believe in the power of self-discipline and dedicated effort to change an individual’s life and improve the world as a whole. My hard work has paid off with good grades and a wealth of knowledge. Beyond academics, I’ve earned a spot on my high school drumline, taken care of my health, and helped starving AIDS orphans in Africa. When we stretch ourselves and learn to press on in the midst of challenging circumstances, we achieve great things. And not only do we improve as people and experience a wonderful sense of satisfaction, but the world benefits from our contributions.