Defining Success: A Closer Look At Student Achievement

Success can come in many different forms, I guess it all comes down to how one defines this term. To many, meeting a personal or academic goal is of great importance. But it isn’t always as easy to get there. Attaining that goal, overcoming its adversity, and finally reaching that long awaited milestone can be a huge relief when you work hard for it. When you look at the life of a student athlete, this all applies. These students have to find a balance between being a full-time student and a full-time athlete, and in some cases, for multiple sports too! What’s so special about our students at Access, and at other NUSEA partner programs across the country, is the drive to continue to excel through these obstacles during the years leading up to their graduation in high school and even further into college. What’ll make the biggest difference in these student’s futures all comes down to two things: having the drive to continue forward, and being resilient whenever times get tough.
It’s important to consider each individual student’s needs and wants as separate from everybody else’s. Where one student’s goal is to attend a university of their dreams after high school, another’s may simply be to take their school to victory at their annual robotics competition in the winter. In either case, both are very important goals to work towards.  Regardless of what their aim is, supporting these students to help make these dreams feasible is our priority. If we’re able to help them get there in the process, I think we were successful on our end as an organization. 
What’s great about being a part of a team like Access is you always have the support from your teammates and staff members to help assist you through your journey. From my experience, I learned that I could always turn to my peers for support every step of the way. The relationships that you build throughout the 6 years of being together only strengthens as you go, making even the smallest of wins for someone a part of everyone’s to celebrate with together.
Over the past years I’ve gotten the chance to witness this personally among my peers. The happiness, success, and the overwhelming sense of accomplishment of making these dreams a reality all started in the confusing days of learning how to adapt and continue to move past change and adversity, eventually it all becomes second nature. From the times in high school where half of us had no clue about what colleges we wanted to send our applications to, to sticking through and finally succeeding at getting that degree we’ve all dreamt and talked about for years on end, having the drive to continue forward and being resilient whenever times get tough is what helped us get there.
It doesn't matter what a student's goals and aspirations may be, so long as they’re genuinely happy with the things they’re doing and where they’re headed towards, that to me is the definition of success. Schools should work more towards promoting these kinds of environments for their students; the more you let someone work on themselves and towards their ideal, the happier they’ll be with their accomplishments, pushing them to keep going towards them irrespective of any obstacles along the way.
In my opinion, pursuing a career in art or music falls nothing short from a career in medicine or engineering, it all really depends on what you’d like the outcome to be. In any case, providing the resources to help get them there is what’s impactful to their current lives and later in the future.
Over the past years I’ve spoken to many people in a variety of careers and in very different phases in their lives. From college students, to business owners, and even retirees who have left the workforce for good, everyone seems to come to a general consensus about the excitement that came from their experiences throughout their life. And although for some people it may take many years to reach their goals through the many steps, the internships, work experience and training to eventually get there, the process of getting closer to those goals is what makes a person’s hunger grow bigger. 
So whether you’re a parent, a friend, or a mentor, it’s our duty to get these students excited about their futures. Help nurture these creative and hard working environments so that our students are led on the right path to defining their own success. Although they’re very capable of doing it on their own, a great support system will only better their chances at doing so.
To all students, continue to dream big! I promise you will find what you truly love and enjoy in life if you guide yourself to get there. I’m lucky enough to finally come to understanding with this and I could only hope you one day find the same drive to keep you going. Wishing you the absolute best in your futures!