When the Impossible Becomes Possible: 3 Actions to Achieve Academic Goals

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AJ Porter
Red and blue color baloons in the air infront of a building

For the first two years of high school, I was homeschooled. However, I quickly learned that was not the right choice for me. So, in October 2018, I enrolled in public high school as a junior determined to still graduate on time. The staff was skeptical. They wanted me to understand that it would most likely take me at least three years to complete the curriculum. I did not let that deter me. By the end of my second year, I had all of my credits and I graduated with the class of 2020. Through this untraditional schooling, I learned useful lessons that I plan to carry into both college and life itself.

Forging Relationships

When working to achieving your goals, it’s very helpful to forge meaningful relationships along the way. Effective communication is the key to maintaining strong relationships. In order to meet my goal, I had to effectively communicate with school staff. I created a relationship with my teachers. I couldn’t just ask them simple questions, wait for an answer, and leave. I conveyed my needs and thoughts in detail, and at the same time, I listened for theirs.

For the more socially awkward, this may sound difficult. I understand. It is important to acknowledge, though, that your mentors in your life are there to help you. They are a resource and they will gladly listen when you open up.

Productivity Methods

During this time, I had to be incredibly productive. In order to finish everything in time, I had to develop the best ways to stay on task.

If you happen to be a procrastinator, I’ve learned that the common advice of “spreading out” your work is not always the best idea. I was more efficient when I got a large portion of my work done in one sitting. If you don’t stay on task well, long breaks can invite distractions. “I’ll do the rest tonight” can easily become “I’ll do the rest tomorrow.” It was better for me to do all of my daily work in one sitting. After that, I had hours to do whatever I pleased.

When overwhelmed, it’s also important to plan with foresight. You can’t outrun future responsibilities, so be prepared instead. If you’re dreading a project, save the date and plan in advance. Make sure that all other big projects are done by then. Keep a planner. Remove the element of surprise by becoming a master of the near future.

Perfectionism and Effort

When tackling a massive challenge, it’s important to accept your hard limits. Despite my already difficult task, I was a perfectionist. I pushed further. I wanted to be the best at all of my classes and extracurricular activities.

It’s not bad to have a wide variety of goals. However, it’s important to have reasonable expectations when you spread yourself thin. You will be making hard choices. You won’t always succeed. Not every goal I made for myself received equal attention, and there were some that I had to let go of. At first, I worried that these compromises made me less successful. The truth of that matter, though, is that I graduated in two years. That’s an achievement regardless of anything else. When I received my final report card, I also learned that I finished eighth in my class. I was so scared of being unsuccessful that I wasn’t in touch with the reality of my effort. I didn’t have to do every little thing to be successful. I was already doing the impossible.

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