On failure and expectaions

I never broke five minutes in the mile.  I wasn’t elected Head Prefect.  As a matter of fact, I haven’t fulfilled a single campaign promise to date.  I didn’t get into Georgetown- early, regular, off the waitlist.  I was quite possibly the only senior ever to be a three year veteran of the JV Cross Country team. 

I didn’t clear 10 feet in the pole vault.  I don’t even have a single varsity letter to show for my seven seasons of running.  And I never found my “That 70’s Show”-esque group of friends where everybody’s comfortable with each other and the laugh track checks in every couple of minutes.  And my grades- well they were just plain mediocre. 

I failed at Harvard-Westlake.  Or at least I didn’t meet my expectations, which if you’re keeping score at home just so happens to be the same as failing.  Maybe my expectations were too high. 

But no, I don’t buy that.  That thinking suggests a self-pitying lack of ability and capability.  The expectations were just right.  And in some respects, so was the failure. 

Emma Kaplan and I fought for months over the journey speech for ring ceremony.  (She won and did a great job with it).  But now that I have my soapbox, allow me to step up on it and preach.
The failure was right.  And why was the failure right?  Because naturally, it taught me something success never could have.  Something much more important than the easy lessons success teaches you, that hard work and determination pay off. 

I want so badly to have something profound to say here; some life changing words that will immortalize my name at 3700 Coldwater Canyon long after I’m gone.  But the truth is I don’t.  Not here.  Not now. 

But someday I will.  And I think that’s what I learned at Harvard-Westlake.  I learned that despite not measuring up, despite failing time after time, I still expected great things of myself.
(Now here’s for my shameless plug.  If you like my writing, or if you like me, or hell if you’d just like to get a taste for the world through my eyes, check out my blog.  It can be found at nevereversayno.blogspot.com.  That’s ‘never ever say no dot blogspot dot com.’

The name’s explained in my first post.  I leave for my gap year at the end of September, but I’ve already started writing, and I plan to keep writing all summer long.  So come check it out. And now back to the happily ever after already in progress…)

I think that’s what is going to make me great.  Not today.  Not yesterday, because in my opinion I wasn’t great here.  But someday I will be great because no matter how many times I fail, I still expect to be great.  And I think I owe that to Harvard-Westlake.  So thank you, Harvard-Westlake. 

And to the rest of you, all the current, former and future students, faculty and staff that make up Harvard-Westlake, keep the school’s motto in mind Possunt Quia Posse Videntur, or ‘They Can Because They Think They Can.’ Keep thinking you can and you will. Be great today.

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