Phillip Vianna

Clearwater, Florida

There are some for whom the option of sadness and failure is impossible. For them, success is the only option. When I looked up and saw my student advisor, Jessup, graduate I recognized this quality in him. I saw that he was like a shooting star—he would go on his journey, untouched by the wind that blows so many off their paths. He was firmly anchored by his integrity, knowledge and competence. I realized that I also wanted these qualities. I wanted to be a person who stood completely confident in his abilities, in his competence and in his path to success.

   While on my path to attaining this, I encountered many challenges. None, however, were as valuable as those I met on the practical program. In my first year and a half on the practical program, I didn’t meet with much success; I bungled along incompetently, but through this opportunity to fail, I grew into the person I am today.

   Two years ago, I was on the yearbook team. I didn’t do a good job, and I knew it. After the team had completed the yearbook and we were going to be assigned new positions, I was sure that I was going to be demoted from student council back onto student services. The student council president and vice-president told me they wanted to speak with me about my student council position. As I was walking down the stairs to meet with them, I was mentally preparing my apology and subsequent monologue on how I was going to work very hard on my student services to get back onto student council. I walked in and waited for them to tell me that I was going back to student service. But they changed me to a different student council position instead.

   It was then that I decided, “Okay, I am receiving a second chance here, and, I don’t care what it takes, I will not fail. I will do the best job I possibly can, even if I have to spend my entire night doing it!” From that point forward, I did as much as I could on my post. I put in hours every night, and I didn’t get taken off. In fact, within a month, I had been promoted to an officer position. I continued with this mentality, and in the next school year I became student council vice-president.

   I realized what I had done was just the utilization of unyielding intention. This past year, I have worked on understanding what my goals and purposes for the future really are. Through an internship in Washington D.C., the beautiful Form 8 program, and a lot of reflection, I’ve come to understand what these goals are. I now stand, not just with an understanding of what I want to do in the future, but also with the certainty that I will do it.

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