That is something that my sister Kristina knows through and through. She has just achieved her “wings” in the Air Force. I cannot even begin to express how proud and honored I am to be her sister and be part of her story. If a person was to look up the definition of determination Kristina should be in that definition. I am going briefly share part of her story.
Growing up Kristina didn’t have a passion. She tried many different activities from soccer to guitar, but just never stuck to it. Then she entered the Civil Air Patrol, an air force prep program where young people learn how to fly, lead and be a successful cadet. This program brought something very special in Kristina. She excelled in the program, I never considered her a leader until she had been I the program a couple of years, then she was almost running the whole thing. By the time she was a senior in high school she decided that whatever university she attended that she was going to be part of the ROTC program there (Reserve Officers’ Training Course). ROTC gave her a scholarship for the university if she maintained a certain GPA and then went into the air force post university. This is when Kristina became determined.
She decided that she was going to pursue a degree at the prestigious Colorado School of Mines. Kristina was an above average student however, not a valedictorian by any stretch of the imagination. In order for her to attend Mines she took some classes a community college. Through some ups and downs she was finally admitted into the University. This is where the real story begins.
Colorado School of Mines is a top university for a reason and there were many people in our family (including me) who really challenged her on the decision to attend Mines. She heard from many people that she shouldn’t go there, that she wasn’t going to make it. Right then and there decided that she was going to prove everyone wrong. The story would be to tooty fruity if it ended there. She spent 3 years battling in every single class. When asked how she was doing, her response was often “well I am doing fine in a couple classes but I am failing this class. . .” It was kicking her butt. She would spend countless hours studying yet stuff would still not sink in. She relentlessly battled and battled. One semester she had to re-take a class and was in the professor’s office so much to make sure that she was really getting the material down. At a time when most of us would say “alright, I tried this and it’s not working let me move on with something else” she would say “I am going to get this down, I am going to get through this”. She was so determined to prove everyone wrong and to prove to herself that she could get through it, she did end up getting a degree in mathematics from the Colorado School of Mines.
What I am saying is that Kristina made up her mind that she was going to successfully achieve a degree at Mines. She decided that all the negative voices from people were just voices and they didn’t matter. She did everything she needed to do in order to make it. That is what determination means. It means having a goal and not allowing anyone else to tell you differently. It means putting in the extra effort it takes to become who you want to be. It means working your butt off until you have gotten where you want to go.
As Mark Manson has said in a number of blogs, everything you want in life comes with things that are hard and sucky, but if you are willing to get through the sucky parts in order to succeed, then you have found something that you really want. Kristina decided she wanted to be in the air force and graduate from an outstanding school and she was willing to go through all the grit and grime to do that.
Message of the week: Determination comes from wanting something so bad that you are willing to walk through hell to get it. Is there something that you want that bad? Follow that!
P.S. Choose to be happy