"This I Believe": Doing Your Best

Mar 7, 2019

Author: Samantha St. Myer (Rossville HS)
Credit Rachel Lattimore

I believe in doing your best. Even when everything is going wrong in your life, you can

make a difference. You can keep pushing and get through the bad times, and you can

encourage other people to do the same. The phrase “do your best” means a lot to me. I know to some students it sounds like something teachers will repeat and remix to try and keep their attention occupied, but I know that they mean it. “Do your best” has been said to me so many times in my life. My teachers, my parents, my leaders, and my role models have all said it; they all mean it. They want me to succeed. That kind of goodwill has inspired me to always try, and to always do my best.

When I was a freshman in high school and I was scheduling my classes for the next

year, I had the chance to take an AP Physics course a year early. I talked to my counselor, my teachers, and my family to see if they thought I could do it, and to get their advice. My parents, of course, want me to succeed, but they also don’t want me to be put under too much stress and give up, so they were skeptical. My friends didn’t think I should take it, because I wouldn’t be in their classes and I wouldn’t see them as much. My teachers told me to do what I felt best, and my guidance counselor agreed. But my grandma told me to try. She told me that it would always be better to try and fail. If you don’t try, you’ll never know what could’ve been. She told me to go for it. I took her advice and signed up for the class.

The thing is, that class was a combined AP Physics course with juniors and seniors. I

was the youngest person in the room. Sophomore year was so stressful at the beginning, I thought I would have to drop the class. I consulted my friends and my family, and then I talked to my grandma. She told me to do the best I could in that class, and if it went badly, I would still learn a lot. I love my grandma, so I stuck it out and stayed in the class. For the next two weeks, I spent all of my free time at school studying and finishing homework, and even staying after school to ask the teacher extra questions. Something finally clicked for me. I understood the material and did really well. At the end of the year I passed the AP exam!

Sticking it out and doing my best paid off in a big way for me, especially in that instance.

Because I took an AP class early, my GPA was higher than everyone else’s in my grade. I’m now on track to be the valedictorian of my class. I learned a lot from that experience, and those things are: do your best, don’t quit, and listen to your grandma.  This I believe.