Do you have Grit?

statue-1515390_960_720Recently, I came across a Ted Talk by Angela Lee Duckworth. I had seen this Ted Talk once before in a class when I first started college and did not think much of it. When I came across it again, only a few months ago, what she talked about really resonated with me as a senior in college. In the video, she spoke about the idea of grit and the power of passion and perseverance. She talked about how she taught seventh grade math for the New York City public school district. Through teaching, she found that IQ was not the only thing that separated her best students from her worst. Some of her top students had lower IQ scores than her less successful students and vice versa. She then studied the question, “What characteristic leads a person to be more successful?”

Through her research, she found that the one defining quality in people who were successful was grit. It was not IQ score, socioeconomic status, or physical health. Grit is passion and perseverance for very long term goals. Duckworth said that grit is having stamina and the ability to weather the storms that life brings while continuing to work on your goals day in and day out. In her words, grit is living life like it is a marathon, not a race.


This idea of grit has become a key theme both in and out of my academic life. Every day I have to “check my grit”…no really…about 3 times a day I say to myself in my head, “check your grit.”

I may be weird, but it is the difference between me going home to relax only to push more work onto tomorrow, or going to the library and setting myself up for a good week. I ask, “Am I working my hardest? Could I do more today to achieve my goals? What are your goals?”

If I just push a little harder today, then I will have a better tomorrow. This statement has proven to be overwhelmingly true in my life. Like all college students, I am vulnerable to procrastination, laziness, and discouragement. School is hard. And life is harder! No one is on their game 100% of the time. The great thing about grit is that it is not something you are born with or born into. Which means it can be learned over time. It also means that there is potential inside of everyone to succeed. Lazy days are inescapable. But remembering to check your grit on a regular basis can turn you from a person who can work hard sometimes, into a hard-working person.

The American dream is real. You can come from nothing and make something of yourself. I was a poor, mediocre student in high school with issues. Now I am an undergraduate student, taking graduate courses with a bright future ahead of me. Having grit is the difference between knowing what you want, and actually getting what you want. Having goals and actually achieving them. Do not let anybody ever tell you that you cannot achieve what you want to achieve. Because if you have the determination and passion to do something, you can do it. You can do it because this world is built off the backs of underdogs. This world is built off the back of gritty humans. And gritty humans get things done regardless of race, IQ, socioeconomic status, or cards that are dealt to them. Grit is a field leveler. It is that thing inside of yourself that no one else can tap into. That underutilized resource of hope and change. So, try checking your grit on a daily basis. Move your life into the direction you desire. Because no one knows your potential but you, and no one else is going to bring it out of you.



Please Note: The views of our student bloggers do not necessarily reflect the views of the UAlbany Advisement Services Center. These are their stories and their voices.
About the Author:

Heather Intro

Heather M.
Class of 2018
Major: Communication
Minor: Psychology
Blog Theme:
One Life’s Potential

The Power of Focus


If you listen to any successful person talk about how they got to where they are, a lot of times, the word focus will be mentioned at some point. Everyone wants to be successful, but many of us lack focus. Although we live in this multitasking age, multitasking just does not work. And I am not just talking about daily tasks. I am talking about greater focus in life. Look back and be honest with yourself. Do you consider yourself to be a focused person? I personally do not consider myself  to be a focused person. I constantly have to remind myself, “Heather, be focused.” We are constantly getting distracted from what we need to be focused on. Whether we are distracted by our phones, other people, worried thoughts or, you fill in the blank. Continue reading “The Power of Focus”

It’s About the Little Wins



College can be an incredibly tumultuous time for people, filled with high highs and low lows. The school year can be so stressful. Between homework, studying for tests, working, going to class, and having a social life; it is hard to remain sane. Although it is important to keep your grades up and remain diligent, you also have to keep your mental and emotional well-being in check. This is way easier said, than done. Continue reading “It’s About the Little Wins”

What Happens When You Let Other People Tell You Who You Are?

Image taken from:

I heard it, I felt it, and then I took ownership of it.
The label was my enemy, and my scapegoat.

When I was in fourth grade, I was called dumb for the first time by a classmate. I was called dumb because fourth grade was the first year I was put into a reading help class. I could not read as fast or as well as the other kids. I specifically remember sitting in class one day during reading time and looking over to see the girl next to me reading Harry Potter and then looking, shamefully, back down at my Junie B. Jones book. I could not even fathom trying to read a Harry Potter book. Harry Potter looked like a dictionary compared to the books I was reading. I know it should not have, but this set the tone for me for the rest of elementary school, and even followed me through my high school career. Because of that, I always felt behind everyone else. I was always struggling to keep up, even with the extra help classes. Continue reading “What Happens When You Let Other People Tell You Who You Are?”

Meet our Fall 17′ @UAlbanyMyStory Bloggers Pt. 3

Through videos, blogs, posters, small group meetings, community outreach, and presentations, our UAlbany Project MyStory bloggers their experiences – the good and the  bad; the ugly and the beautiful. Check us out every Monday, after 12 pm, for MyStory Mondays, when we share the latest posts. 

Meet Heather

” I am pulling grades I once only dreamed about.
And no one saw it coming. Not even me.”

Heather Intro.jpeg

Hello everyone! My name is Heather Moore. I am currently a senior here at UAlbany in the BA/MA program for Communication. I transferred to UAlbany two years ago from Hudson Valley Community College, after earning my associates degree in business administration. I was born and raised here in the Albany area. I love traveling, yoga, a good movie, and a complicated question.

Before coming to UAlbany, when I was a student at HVCC, I had no grand plans of continuing my education at a 4 year university. In high school I was a mediocre student with focus issues and a discouraged attitude. Once I reached Hudson Valley, I struggled for a while to find direction (as most students do). When I had finally chosen a path, my goal was to finish. That’s it. Just to finish. I never felt I had what it took to be a student at a 4 year school, so I never imagined myself as one. And my advisors were let’s say…less than encouraging when I prompted them about the possibility of continuing my education. I even had one advisor tell me not to bother applying to UAlbany because I would “have no chance” at acceptance.

However, what nobody knew, was that I did have a chance. I just had to “unlock my potential,” as cliché as it sounds. With the help of some very special people, I learned how to focus myself and slowly started gaining confidence in my abilities, not only as a student, but as a person. And when that happened, everything changed. I became a straight-A student for the first time in my life. And while visions of a future with new possibilities began popping into my head, the voices of doubt quieted.

This newfound confidence was a little uncomfortable for me at first, if I am being honest. I thought I knew my limits before. I had accepted them long ago. Believing in myself and utilizing my potential was new territory for me. But I knew the feeling of failure and I knew could deal with it again if I had to. So I jumped. I jumped fast and hard and landed myself an acceptance into the Communication program at UAlbany. I will never forget the feeling of holding that acceptance letter in my hands. I cried. My mom cried. It was an intense moment.

Two years later, and the girl who believed she had no shot, is now the same girl who is in a special masters program. I am pulling grades I once only dreamed about. And no one saw it coming. Not even me. A couple professors here at UAlbany who had seen potential in me gave me the courage to press forward. Their belief in me, inspired belief in myself. And to them I am forever grateful.

I wanted to share some of my story with others because I want to do the same for someone else that was done for me. To hear the words “you can.” You can be something great. You can accomplish more than you think; if you give yourself a chance. The hardest thing to do, is to break down the box you build around yourself. My hope is to help other students find their courage. I want students to acknowledge themselves as capable individuals and realize that they are worth more than they might think.  Because it is too easy to forget.

Find out more about Project MyStory Here!