Oak Hill Blog

A senior’s perspective of academic success and personal growth

At Oak Hill Academy, we gather together each morning for a school-wide assembly. On Fridays, we have the special treat of hearing a morning devotional from one of our seniors. During a recent week, we heard from Catie M, who shared her story in an inspiring devotional:

I remember quite clearly when I was given this assignment — I was actually one of the first people to sign up, and by association, I had the first pick of when to do my devotion. 

In the moment, it seemed like a good idea to give my speech on the day before my eighteenth birthday. However, in retrospect, this was a horrible idea. Little did I know that today would be the application deadline for a college I’m applying to alongside the day before I take another SAT, and anyone who truly knows me knows that the one thing I do best is procrastinate. 

Naturally, I found myself in a predicament last night. It’s nearing ten-thirty and I’m faced with a blinking cursor on a blank document, this beast of a burden I’m supposed to have finished by the next morning, and I don’t even know where to start. 

So, I begin in the way most devotions do — with a vocabulary lesson. 

Navigating Academic Challenges

Accountability is defined, by Merriam-Webster, as a noun — “the fact or condition of being accountable; responsibility.”

Having been born to and raised by two military officers, this was something I was taught to learn and practice from a young age: To always claim responsibility for my actions regardless of any circumstances, because if anyone had control over their individual outcomes, it was me. 

Still, knowing when to hold yourself accountable is no easy task. It’s something I struggled with personally near the end of my junior year, when I was unsatisfied with the way the year’s performance had reflected on my grades. While they were certainly far from failing, I was upset. I looked to blame this outcome on anything or anyone else because it simply wasn’t up to par with what I know I could have achieved. 

The blame-game got me nowhere, but at some point in time over the summer, I came to an epiphany of sorts. I realized that while I’m certainly liable for my actions in the past, there’s nothing I can do to change them now. The best thing to do was to put one foot in front of the other and make a pact with myself to change for the better next year. 

Accountability in Education and Student Life

By holding myself accountable for my past performance, I’d set a new standard for myself — one that wasn’t below my capabilities, and one that wasn’t unachievable, either. There’s been a massive improvement in my overall grades and attitude this year simply because I realized my past mistakes and adjusted myself accordingly. 

In conclusion, accountability is something that not just teenagers, but everyone, struggles with. It goes against our very human nature to seek out our own vulnerabilities or weak points and single them out. But in doing so, and recognizing what we’re unsatisfied with, we can beginan era of self-improvement. 

Since that time, Catie has received multiple college acceptances, in addition to her nearly perfect ACT score. We are so proud of you, Catie!

Interested in what personal and educational improvements Oak Hill might offer your student? We’d love to connect with you to discuss the boarding school experience.

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