Attaining Independence By Setting Goals
Sitting with my classmates, everyone excited, a tad nervous, and eager to walk across the stage to get our high school diploma, I was thrilled to complete one of my most significant accomplishments in life. Graduating this year with a half- ride scholarship and a 3.75 GPA was a tremendous honor. It wasn’t only because I achieved so much in my high school years, but also because of the hard work I put into my academics to make it to that point. When I was in elementary and middle school, I struggled with school work. Then in seventh grade, I was diagnosed with a processing disorder, and then it was time to work . I had to go through extensive training to retrain my brain to process academics in a way that I could understand. Some days, I would spend up to six hours a day in what we called my “homework closet” and pound out all the work. There have been a lot of challenges over the years. One of my biggest accomplishments came after I received a low grade in the math section of the ACT. When I was diagnosed with my disorder, I realized that I would never be good at math and came to accept that about myself. However, once I hit eighth grade, I got an A in every one of my math classes, and my confidence increased. Getting that low math score on the ACT made me bunker down — I sat down with a tutor, and we went through every problem in all the practice ACT books for math we could
I was 6, my family lived in Billings, Montana, and my dad would flip radio stations and make them profitable. At one point, he had to commute every weekend to Spokane while Carson and I went to school. Every morning he would call me and we’d say together, “I think I can, I know I can, I did.” It was positive reinforcement that helped me through a lot of tough times. Whenever I was faced with something difficult, I would say this to myself and work through it. Now as I prepare for my first semester at Boise State University, I couldn’t be more excited. Three weeks before I graduated, I was given a scholarship for literature called the Mary Ellen Callahan Literature Scholarship — I wasn’t expecting it at all. I applied for the scholarship on the very last day you could. It was really humbling to have them read my submission, think I was good enough, and know that they wanted me in their program. It just goes to show that you don’t know until you try. The work I put in to achieve my challenging goals gave me a love for learning and finding different ways to accomplish what I wanted to do. If you’ve ever set goals for yourself and weren’t able to meet them, it’s never too late to start again. Clare Tester
Clare on her big day
find. When I retook the ACT, I raised my ACT math score by six points.
While I pushed myself to be better throughout school, I had a lot of support from my parents. My dad helped me create and meet the goals I set for myself — we even worked together to create goal boards. On the board, we’d have what we called a “Smart Goal Method” planned out across it. It had a formula — Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Reasonable, and Time-Bound. Once I reached my goals for the day, I would cross them off on the board and move to the next. It’s been a huge motivational tactic for me. Even now that I’m growing up and becoming a new person, I still use this method to plan out and meet new goals I set for myself.
Dad also helped me by creating a motto that I still find useful to this day. When
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