I recently participated in a discussion about the concept of “having grit.” In this discussion, we talked about how some people naturally are “gritty” and some aren’t. Some people naturally persevere when things get hard, and some give up.

We discussed how people who have the strength to persevere actually make it further in life than those who are naturally talented. Naturally-talented people tend to give up when things get more difficult, and those who aren’t naturally talented keep fighting when things get hard.

This is true about college. How many people do you know gave up on school, or just stopped at their associate degree after planning to get a bachelor’s? Now, there’s nothing wrong with having just an associate degree, but you can get so much further if you push through two more years. It sucks and it’s probably one of the hardest things you will do, but it’s worth it.

This discussion got me thinking, especially as I’m getting ready to graduate with my bachelor’s degree. I started wondering how I had “grit” and persevered through the challenges of college. I have had two very different college experiences that really allow me to see the difference in a college experience when I’m persevering rather than surrendering.

My first year attending Weber State University, I was freshly out of high school, and I thought I knew what I was doing. Having the mindset to do anything that I put my mind to, I signed up to be a reporter on The Signpost, and I joined Studio 76 while taking 16 credit hours and figuring out what it means to be an adult.

I didn’t have the confidence that was needed to persevere through school. I dropped out of The Signpost halfway through the year, then I took a break from school entirely after spring of 2017.

Though tough, the hiatus I took from school was exactly what I needed. I moved to Houston for a year and a half and had some revelatory experiences that helped me learn who I am.

I had a realization that I could actually accomplish what I put my mind to, but in order to do that, I had to have the confidence to do so.

In the discussion that I had about “grit,” it was said that there are some people who learn to have grit. It’s not something that is easily taught, but some people learn to have it.

I came back to school fall of 2019, with a renewed sense of purpose. I was ready. I didn’t get myself involved in anything my first year back because I wanted to make sure I knew what I wanted to get my degree in. I met with my advisors, I kept going with my associate degree, and finally I came to realize what my calling was: Broadcast Journalism.

There’s something about being able to tell other people’s stories that I can’t get enough of. There’s an art to being able to share the lives of the simple people around and give a voice to people who don’t normally get that chance. It’s my chance to make a difference in the world.

These last two years of attending school have pushed me more than I’d like to admit. I’ve faced challenges educationally, personally, physically and spiritually. That’s what school is all about. It’s there to push you past your limits so that you can accomplish more than you could ever dream of.

I came back to The Signpost in summer 2020, right after the pandemic started. I am currently the Videography Editor. It’s a unique experience to be a videographer on a printed paper. You are working for a medium that doesn’t necessarily “need” video.

I had the opportunity to take a position and to mold it so that it’s a necessary part of the paper. This pushed me.

When you jump into a position that isn’t “needed,” nor did it exist the year before, you have to push a bit harder than if the position had regularly been filled.

I had to make my presence known, and I had to show that I could be of help, even in my little corner of the office. I wouldn’t have succeeded in this position if I didn’t have the grit and determination to make it a necessary position.

The only way to make your dreams happen is to push past the pain. You have to take the pain and keep going. You can’t let it pull you down and stop you from accomplishing your dreams.

Nelson Mandela once said, “It always seems impossible until it’s done.”

As I’ve been preparing for graduation, my mind has often been wandering to myself as a younger girl. I am the first of my siblings to get my bachelor’s and the first of my biological parents to get a degree. The only person in my immediate family with a degree has been my step mom.

My mom always told me as a little girl that no matter what, I needed to get my bachelor’s degree. It was always a dream of mine. My step mom showed me how that was possible.

It didn’t truly settle as a reality until last semester when I started thinking about internships. I remember, sitting there and thinking, “I am actually graduating with my bachelor’s degree. And I can see myself doing it professionally.”

Last year, I realized that I had never thought about what happens after college. My entire life has been about getting to this point, and now, I can show little Sarah that her dreams came true and that they were better than she could have ever imagined.

I wouldn’t be where I am today without Weber State and the amazing professors that teach here. If this school didn’t approve of a student run newspaper, I wouldn’t have the connections or experience needed to succeed in my future career. I have a fighting chance because of Weber.

I didn’t just learn what was needed to get a job at a TV news station. At Weber, I learned how to persevere when it gets hard. That kind of education, an education that teaches you to keep pushing, is hard to get. It’s not an easy one to find and Weber gives it to you.

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