Real Effort Leads to Real Success
Students often tend to think that if they are doing poorly in a subject — math is a good example — they must be “bad at it.” According to Carl Mack, Executive Director of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), this is likely not the case. After working with a countless number of students, Mack argues that doing poorly in a subject is most often the result of a lack of effort and planning, rather than natural ability. Just like sports, music, or video games, doing well in school is the result of effort, time, and practice, which is why a student’s attitude toward school has a noticeable impact upon their success.
NSBE is a non-profit, student-governed association having more than 29,000 members. NSBE is devoted to fostering academic and professional success among African-American engineering students and professionals. Mack’s commitment to NSBE stems in part from the mentoring opportunities the organization offers to students who are in search of role models; he believes that mentors can have a huge impact on a person’s life, even in a short period of time.
When Mack was in 10th grade, he had a role model by the name of Daryl Jones. Jones was seven years Mack’s senior, and was attending college at the U.S. Air Force Academy. He was the son of Mack’s tennis coach, and he and Mack used to sometimes play tennis together. Jones had also once been an invited speaker at Mack’s high school.
“He walked in in his uniform and all the girls liked him,” Mack recalled.
One day, Jones asked Mack what he was going to do after high school, to which Mack shrugged and replied, “I don’t know.”
“Well, then you are going to be a failure,” Jones said. “Either you have to have a plan for success, or you automatically have a plan for failure.”
Because he respected Jones, these words resonated with Mack, who then began to take his education and planning for the future more seriously.
Planning for the future is a driving force behind the Summer Engineering Experience for Kids (SEEK) program organized by NSBE. The SEEK program is a free summer camp that brings together college engineering students, technical professionals, and grade school students. During SEEK, student teams take responsibility for a challenging project, and use their creativity and critical thinking skills to cooperate on the challenge. In the summer of 2013, there will be SEEK camps in 10 cities across the country. You can check out the SEEK website to find out if there is a summer camp near you.
Mack challenges students who are committed to pursuing their educational goals to contact his organization.
“Prove to me that you take your education seriously, and I will do whatever I can to help you achieve your dreams,” he said.
Backing up these words, Mack offered his email address to students and educators. It is firstname.lastname@example.org.