Photo by Monica Jamison

I am a 12. I am like Usain Bolt but without a track or Michael Phelps but without a pool. So what do I really have in common with these two? I am competitive.

While racing to beat the ETA on a GPS may not qualify as an Olympic sport, I still see it as a challenge. On a scale of one to 10, with 10 being that person that thinks everything is a competition, I am a 12.

Tech students possess two qualities that should together be embraced ­­— the fear of failure and a competitive drive. I am no exception to either one of these.

I don’t want to fail a quiz (or even worse, an entire class) but I also want to be better than everyone else. I believe that whatever challenge presents itself, you should accept it even if you know you cannot succeed at it. But why set yourself up for failure, you may ask. I’m not.

Every new challenge brings forward the opportunity to gain new experiences and grow as an individual. I accept these challenges in order to push myself to do better and put in more effort into something that might typically just be routine.

When I am forced to complete tasks that I may not have the skills for, I still find a way to accomplish them.

What happens when you actually succeed at something that thought you weren’t able to do? It raises your self-esteem. You feel like you can conquer anything. You’re on top of the world. The old saying holds true, you will never know until you try.

Here’s a example to show you why I accept impossible challenges. I’m a runner in my free time and by no means am I the fastest. I frequently participate in 5K races and always want to finish in first place. In 2009, I ran my first 5K and finished in just under 48 minutes (admittedly I walked most of it).

Over the years, my dream of finishing first have not been achieved, but I still strive to finish ahead of the person in front of me. My most recent race was in 2015 where I finished first in my age group with a time of just under 22 minutes. With every race, I continue to challenge myself to be better than before.

While I am proud of my accomplishments, I am not one of those annoying people that brags about them (and I encourage you to be the same way). The ego boost that I receive from winning or losing challenges does not show, it is kept internal. This is why many of my friends don’t know about my competitive behavior until they initiate a challenge with me.

I encourage you to accept challenges and competitions that come your way even with the occasional expectation to fail. Push yourself outside your normal boundaries to go the extra mile and achieve the impossible. Be better than your friend sitting next to you in class and better than your opponent on the playing field.

While you may not succeed overnight, never give up, and try again the next day. To you, I present this challenge.