Senior Reflection: High school taught us to play (and win) the game

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Submitted Paul Probst

Paul Probst

The last four years have been full of personal growth and development. As I progressed it was difficult to see what I was picking up along the way, but looking back there are some definite lessons that I learned from my experiences at Algonquin.

There are obvious paths to success that we all know (like getting good grades), but I found that to stand out I had to be situationally aware and proactively look for unique opportunities around me. When I was willing to take unconventional paths and take risks I was able to enter the cycle of failure and learning that eventually lead me to my accomplishments.

I’ve always valued hard work and think it’s absolutely essential to any achievement. I’ve learned that pure effort, however, is not the only ingredient to success: we need to be strategic in where our effort is placed. Learning to differentiate between tasks that required my full effort and those that weren’t as important saved me a lot of time and energy that I could then rededicate to other endeavors.

I’ve observed that those that are willing to embrace responsibility and accountability always come out ahead of those that are more carefree with their lives. Taking ownership of ourselves and our actions is challenging and risky, but that’s the only way we’ll be able to make any real progress.

And finally: the world can be a nasty place and being constantly courteous and kind to everyone we interact with is hard. Even though it’s an extremely difficult exercise in self-control, the genuine respect that’s earned in return for our kindness is one of the most invaluable rewards that we can receive. I firmly believe our benevolence doesn’t just benefit those around us; there are real and tangible benefits that we too can enjoy.