The name Shaun White is no stranger to the airwaves these days.  In fact, he’s Shaun-Whitebeen all over them with his exciting performance expected on this year’s Winter Olympic half-pipe.  Anticipated by many to bring home the Gold, Shaun actually went on to rank 4th in the event.  And as you know, 4th place in the Olympics brings nothing home, but Shaun brought home something more priceless than Gold!

The more I pondered on this moment of surprise, I thought of the many high school students who, like Shaun, have worked hard and have for themselves incredible dreams and aspirations for college.  It’s a journey not unlike an athlete’s journey to win Gold.  But for Shaun, his dream ended nothing like he had imagined it would.  It ended in 4th place.

You Don’t Always Get What You Work Hard For

Shaun didn’t quite set out during his college days expecting to win a Gold Medal at a future Winter Olympics.  In fact, Shaun’s parents were a bit confused when their math student began talking of snowboarding and a half-pipe.  But Shaun didn’t allow those moments to interrupt his big dream of one day making history.

His journey began with a dream and with that he set out to make it come true.  Like so many high school students that think long and hard about the college of their dreams, Shaun thought a great deal about what it would take to make his dream a Gold-en moment.

Hard work certainly paid off, he made it to the Olympics!  But the dream of Gold he worked hard to earn slipped through his fingertips.  Similarly, high school students work extremely hard with community service, academics and extracurricular activities in hopes that one day it will all pay off — for college.   But the truth is everyone doesn’t get into the college of their dreams, even though they work very hard.  Everyone doesn’t win and that’s okay because Shaun doesn’t see himself as having lost, he thinks of himself as a winner regardless.

Good Sportsmanship Matters

When we don’t get what we want or even what we think we deserve it often leads to conflict.  I can only imagine the disappointment with not getting to medal in the Olympics after such discipline and working so diligently for that very moment.

College-bound students are experiencing this very thing each time the college of their dreams sends the infamous letter of rejection.  This being said, it’s even more difficult for these students to congratulate their friends — especially when it’s at a college they want to attend as well.

Seeing Shaun go for it and lose it was nothing short of painful.  But watching him respond to it was priceless — encouraging those who’d done well and winning the very thing he wanted.

Bad Days Happen

Bad days are not easily forgotten.  They tend to linger for a while.  But it is critical in these moments to not lose heart.  How you respond to your bad day makes all the difference.  Shaun collected his thoughts and instead of dwelling on the events of the past few moments, shot them forward to the “next time.”

It’s important for high school students to realize life hasn’t come to an end when dreams get crushed.  Instead, live life to the fullest as though nothing will stop you.  Remember, even though you don’t get into the college of your dreams simply means there will be a detour and detours are meant to take you to the same destination.

Be Encouraged

Nothing can spoil a moment more than derogatory or negative comments when something you’ve always wanted doesn’t quite land in your lap.  Don’t be that negative person.  Instead, be sure to encourage the one who got turned down from a college or not chosen for that scholarship.  Everyone wants to win, but it takes character to make it through a loss.

Friends and family that encourage the high school student along their college journey will be giving them the strength they need to make it through those rough moments.  It’s fantastic to have a supportive family and a group of friends by your side when the tough gets going.

Thank you Shaun White for showing America how to work hard to win and how to act when you don’t!

by Mark Cruver
©2014 Capstone Educational Consultants

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