Sunday, August 9, 2009

Overcoming adversity without excuses

Elizabeth Davis, center, listens during the Broadcast Journalism workshop taught by Melvin McCray '74, an editor at ABC News "World News Tonight" (Photo Credit: Brian Rokus '99).
By Elizabeth Davis (Detroit, MI)

“Excuses are the tools of the incompetent. Used to build bridges to nowhere and monuments of nothingness. Those who use them seldom amount to anything. Therefore, there are NO excuses.”

My creative writing teacher in middle school used to have our class memorize that quote and if one of us ever tried to give him an excuse for any reason, he would have us recite it. He never asked why the student didn’t turn in his or her work or when he or she was going to. All my teacher wanted was to hear the quote. I understood his purpose, but now that I look back, I see how ineffective it was.

My teacher wanted us to realize that no one wants your excuses and that they are unacceptable. To the class, as young, immature students, it was just a way to get out of trouble. No one actually realized how important those words are. But I do ...

I see those words in the faces of all 23 of us in this program. We didn’t use our circumstances in life as excuses or for pity. We all rose above the level of the unmotivated, pity-seeking others who let their situations in life control their actions towards the future. I can tell from the actions of the other 22 brilliant students in this program that they didn’t let anything hold them back from coming here. We gave and took no excuses.

Come in and be ready to learn and be challenged. Leave your excuses at the door.

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