Practice Makes Perfect

Rob Urstein’s quote, “intelligence, rather than being a fixed trait, is something that grows over time and can be developed with effort” from Ian Chipman’s article “Realistic Expectations” has been the theme for me as I worked through this course. Without sounding too full of myself, I usually pick up on things quickly. However, this class was totally different because the writing process takes time and I wasn’t ready for it. I went into the class with very little training and still expected to go from zero to one hundred without much work. In turn, I got frustrated and started making excuses when I wasn’t making the progress that I had hoped for. Excuses such as “it’s hard to balance everything”, “I am not interested in this class”, “I have better things to focus on”, “I will never need this ever in life”. When I got my final grade back for the “Bloodchild” essay I was not pleased. I thought I had done a good job, granted the grade was not horrible but I thought I has earned a better grade. The comments that were left were problems that I thought that I had fixed. I tried to rewrite the essay to the best of my ability and I really tried to make improvements, but nothing was working. On top of that, the in-class activity that we were doing was making me even more frustrated. I was ready to give up. I was putting the “effort” in that Urstein talked about so why wasn’t I getting better?

I have played sports my whole life and practice has always made perfect. I always enjoyed improving the way that I played. The feeling of achievement that I had after I mastered something that my coaches had told me that I needed to work on was amazing. Although I would still get frustrated that I was not getting the hang of it right away, I still worked hard at it. Why was it so different when it came to school? I understand that school is very different from sports, but the concept of growth is still the same. So, I compared my struggle the writing process to my development in sports.

My softball coach once said to our team, “once a coach stops yelling at you, they have given up on you”. She meant this as if coaches are hard on you, they see potential and believe that you are capable of so much more. My coach (Dr. McCoy) recommended things that I could do differently to improve my writing. These recommendations were not meant to hurt me, but they were left to help me. Dr. McCoy saw potential in me which is why she left those comments. Although she did not yell at me, Dr. McCoy believes in me and therefore was hard on my writing and left constructive criticism with the hope that I will improve.

Through all my frustration that I have been feeling, Urstein’s concept can also be directly related to real life situations—not just sports. I have three more years of school, so I know for a fact that I will encounter other classes like this one that frustrate me and that I won’t want to take. In the real world too even after college, I will have tasks at work that frustrate me that I’ll have to work harder than others to master them. When I start a family, being a mom is hard and it takes a while to get the hang of. But that’s something that I can’t just get frustrated with and quit. My comparison of Urstein’s quote to sports and life helped me to understand that it takes multiple tries to get the hang of something. It requires both time AND effort.

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