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Hello and welcome to my humble blog:)


My name is Daniela and I’m a 17 year old schoolgirl living in Zagreb, Croatia. Besides being a typical high school student, I have a passion for animals, movies, music and good food (only eating – I cant cook to save my life). In my short spare time I have between after school activities and studying, i can usually be found out with my friends or being bitten by our evil black pet cat.

I enjoy reading, Christmas time and going to the movies – its almost like therapy to me – and usually find it very difficult to introduce myself. Well, that’s pretty much the basic information about me in a nutshell.

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Saturday, 16 February 2013

The importance of preparation


“Chance favors the prepared mind.”
Louis Pasteur


I’ve been thinking lately (a dangerous pastime, I know)…not just about the usual random things I think about, but about more concrete, focused things…and there’s one little question that’s been circling in my mind quite a bit. Interestingly enough, it’s sort of been a general theme that’s repeatedly been coming up, so to clear my head and come to a conclusion, I’ve decided to give it some further thought and, well, write about it. Let me explain:


I was at this competition in which the participants had to perform a monolog of their choice, and there was this one boy who had an excellent monologue…he had obviously been practicing and preparing for weeks in order to perfect it, and he did, but when the time came for him to actually perform, something just happened…The second he got on the stage, he started shaking like a leaf. He froze two minutes into his performance and started stuttering, forgetting his lines, correcting himself…even though he managed to get to the end of his monologue, you could tell he wasn’t pleased.

It got me thinking. This boy…he had chosen a potentially excellent piece, prepared himself and worked very hard, but when the time came for his hard work to pay off, he just fell apart. Why? Since I’ve had to prepare for several things during the last month, seeing somebody’s hard work go to waste like that really got me thinking about the importance of preparation and how much effort we put into the things we do. So that’s what I’ll be writing about today: Why do we prepare for things and does all the hard work really pay off?

Most people would say that it’s important for us to prepare in order to be ready.
I guess that’s the most straight-forward and obvious answer…but to be “ready” is a very general term. You can never exactly know what’s going to happen, you can never really know what to be prepared for. So what’s the point of preparing? What if you, just like the boy with the monologue, think that you’re prepared but in fact, are not? And, the question that’s been bugging me the most – How do you know when you’ve prepared and put enough effort into preparation? What if you fail?

I know, I’m quite clearly over-thinking this, but I’m hoping that writing all of this down will help clear my mind and help make it more sense…


One of my teachers – obviously a fellow over-thinker – recently said that “you prepare in order to be sure that you can, no matter the circumstances, do your absolute best when the time comes!” It makes sense – you put effort into achieving your goal.


So I gave it some thought…What have I been putting effort into, and, to connect this story to the scholarship, how have I been preparing for Oxford or Cambridge? I’ve been studying, keeping my average up, trying to do my best to find out about the school…but, that’s just preparing to enroll in the school - enrollment is just the first step. Of course, it’s a very important and indispensable step, but what have I been doing in order to successfully attend the school after (hopefully) enrolling? It dawned on me that I haven’t given that part of it much thought. I’ve been stuck on the first step instead of thinking about how to take advantage of the opportunity that enrollment – that first step – would give me. I mean, what’s the point of getting all the opportunities in the world if you don’t take advantage of them? It’s as if you didn’t get any opportunities at all! And, well, being able to study at Oxford is an opportunity that should - no, MUST be made the most of.


Back to the question. Why do we prepare ahead for things? Well, I guess it’s important to prepare for future opportunities in order to take full advantage of them when they arrive. And since bigger opportunities require bigger preparation, my preparations for getting into (and actually attending) the school of my dreams should begin NOW…so getting this scholarship is something that would give me that extra jump-start into the whole preparation process.


Okay, but let’s say you’ve prepared, put all of your heart into something and still end up not achieving it, despite all of your effort. If I was lucky enough to get the scholarship (fingers crossed), but ended up not being accepted at Oxford, would it have all been a total waste of time and effort? Would all of the hard work been worth it? Well, I guess that no matter how hard you try, there’s always going to be a chance of failure.

Everybody has failed before…lots of successful people failed many times before they began to succeed. It’s just the way things work. We can’t affect the existence of failure, but there is something we can do, and that’s reduce the probability of it - by preparing. As the smart man I quoted at the beginning said; “Chance favors the prepared mind”. So the more prepared you are, the more likely you are to succeed, right?


And, if it’s any consolation, even if you don’t succeed, you can at least say that you gave it your all. So yes, it IS worth putting in the effort, even if everything doesn’t turn out as you planned. Anything worth having is worth fighting for, and if that means taking a chance (or in this case, risking failure), it’s a chance well worth taking.


We prepare for the things we care about. And, well, this - getting in to the school of my dreams - is something I care about. So, I want to be as ready as possible for it, when it comes. Sure, failure might happen despite the preparation, but hey, as they say, it’s how we rebound from failure and keep preparing and taking action that determines our successes in life:)


Until later!