Thursday, May 27, 2010

Take Pride in Your Work

If you're just now joining us, you might scroll down a couple of posts and catch up (it will only take a few seconds, I promise). This post is the second in a series from The Code of the West. I thought it might be fun, or at the very least, mildly entertaining to write about each of these codes in the context of my own life.

And if it's not entertaining, well, I apologize for the next two minutes of your life that you will never get back.

Honestly, just keep going. It's not that bad!

So, today's topic is "Take pride in your work." This one was easy as my mantra "anything worth doing is worth doing well" has been a staple in my life since day one. This time, it was difficult to pick a story to exemplify something I try for a little bit each day.

Thinking back to my Junior College career, I remembered a very special professor: Dr Keller. Along with several other English department faculty members, they really pushed me to do my best more than any other teachers I had ever had (or have had since) did.

The class was Honors English Literature. As our final, Dr Keller assigned the largest paper I had ever written. It was to be a full 20-page in-depth analysis of some aspect of literature. Because I learned early on in my high school career that the best way to get attention academically was to write/speak about something fairly shocking, I decided my topic would be the Black Death and its impact on literature.

Sounds like fun, eh?

The first paper I turned in was a basic research paper. It was correct, but Dr Keller knew I could do better. He gave me back the paper with hardly a word. The task was to start over and use my full potential. So I did.

I poured over every book and article I could find on the subject. I worked for hours and hours on the best way to structure my paper and its content, and I carefully analyzed each word to make sure I conveyed the correct meaning, tone, and context.

Once my final was complete I turned it in and anxiously awaited the results. This time I knew I had done my very best. I wasn't just going through the motions this time. I poured my heart and soul into this paper.

The result was a simple A written on the back with the note: "Well-written, erudite paper worthy of your talents. Please see me if you desire more praise."

That kind of note would have certainly been enough, but unbeknownst to me he had submitted it to the English department of the university I had planned on attending. A few months later I received a letter--I had been granted a large scholarship based off the merits of this paper alone!

It was at that point that I realized it truly does pay off to take pride in your work and do your best--always. You never know what might come of it!

1 comment:

Sydney_bitless said...

Thats a great story I can tell it influenced your life a lot.