Excellence is a Choice

Briana - Altoona, Iowa
Entered on September 17, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
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Excellence is a Choice

As I stood there on the marching field in the hot, blistering sun, standing at attention, focusing my eyes on some random bird in the sky, I hear my teachers yell the same thing that they do every single day. “Only strive for excellence, nothing less than that!” After three years of hearing that annoying quote, I finally realized what it meant to me.

I believe in striving for excellence always. It means to me that I need to try the hardest I can at everything. I do not understand why someone would not want to do the best he or she can. Everybody says that they want all the best things in life, but they rarely try hard enough to achieve them. When I want to do the best I can at something, I look at how hard I am trying, and then add just a little more effort. It usually makes it so much easier to achieve my goal. It does not matter what you may want to achieve, you can always do it.

I have had many experiences in which I have had to live by my belief. In band, I have strived for excellence everyday and so has the majority of the band. Our hard work and tough critiques from professional judges has given us a high ranking at many marching contests. Our symphonic band has also won at the annual state contest for four years in a row, and now we are aiming for five. Every time I go to a contest, I always feel

those butterflies in the pit of my stomach, and it distracts me. So I try my hardest to turn that fear into focus. In school, I try my hardest to do the best at my classes, and so far I have decent grades.

However, sometimes I may not be able to do it all by myself, and I need that little extra push from somebody. Mrs. Meunier, my band teacher, has pushed me to my breaking point many times, but I never quit. After every time she did that, I always told myself, “It will only get better.” My parents push me every year to take difficult courses in school, and pressure me to get straight A’s, while they allow my siblings to get C’s and D’s. However, they are only doing it so I can achieve my goal in becoming a veterinarian. In cheerleading, my best friend always made me go “the extra mile,” and it still did not put me on varsity, but I hope that it does next year. We had several breakdowns when I constantly said in my head, “I can’t do it, I never will be able to.” However, after hours of practice, I changed my attitude and said, “If I decided to do this, then I might as well have a positive attitude about it and see where I end up in the end.” Striving for excellence makes me confident and I will reach the end that I want.