Don’t Try Anymore

Fehbe is a 17-year-old from Inglewood, Ca. She enjoys playing tennis and shopping. Her favorite subject is English because she loves to write and sees herself working in the journalism field in the future.

“Look both ways before crossing the street,” “stay in school,” “don’t count your chickens before they hatch”. I’ve heard these and countless other aphorisms and valuable pieces of advice throughout my short 17 years of life. I’m sure we all have heard them as well and while some simply fly over our heads, others find their way into our hearts and stick with us for life. I could’ve sorted through my head trying to decide which piece of advice I’ve received stands out the most, but I realized I didn’t have to look too hard.

I was given this piece of wisdom my junior year of high school by my English teacher. The class was discussing their college goals and where we all wanted to go.

“I’m going to try to apply to NYU,” I stated. NYU was my dream school but I was apprehensive on whether or not I’d be accepted.

My English teacher looked at me and simply said, “Oh, you’re not applying then.” Excuse me, I thought. How are you, my teacher, who’s supposed to encourage his students to attend college, going to say I’m not going to even apply to a university. After seeing the shocked look on my face, he explained, “You said you were going to ‘try’ to apply. Therefore, you are not going to apply. Trying equals failing.”

Trying equals failing. I literally had to ponder for days what this could mean. As it was, I simply shrugged it off at the moment to hide my ignorance. But as I thought about it, it began to make sense. Think about all the things you’ve “tried” to do. You’ve tried to lose weight. You’ve tried to get better grades. You’ve tried to be more understanding. You’ve tried to be a better person. More often than not, you never succeeded in doing these things because you just tried to do them. In essence, you failed in what you “tried” to do. Using my college story as an example, I can’t try to apply; I have to apply to NYU, otherwise I won’t even be considered for acceptance. Then I might say I’m going to try to attend NYU. No, I’m either going to attend or not. However, if I do go to NYU and then get homesick or whatever the case may be and come back home, have I necessarily failed? No I did not, because I did go to NYU. Whether I come back or not is irrelevant. Thus, failure is simply black or white; failure is when you don’t do what you wanted to do because you didn’t do it, no outside variables considered.

It’s been a year since I heard my English teacher’s advice and I am still applying it to my everyday life. Never mind that I heard it on Star Wars first. Trying equals failing; you either do it or you don’t. So don’t try to be a better person; be a better person. Don’t try to get better grades; do everything possible to get better grades. My hope is that you take this advice, as I did, and keep forever in your life and not have it go through one ear or out the other.

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