The Inner Works Behind Perfection

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“Practice makes perfect” they always say, but there is more to perfection than just practice. It requires motivation, determination, skill, and responsibility, which not everyone can accomplish. Which is why people who manage to work their tails off and achieve their goal are highly respected in our society. The ACT is a standardized test used for college admissions in the United States. Like most standardized tests, it covers English, math, reading, and science.  Today, we ask Connor Kantrud, who got a perfect score of 36 on the ACT, some questions involving his high school experience, the challenges he faced, and the memories he made.

Q: Did you expect to get a perfect score on the ACT? Why or Why not?

A: I didn’t necessarily expect to get a 36, but I did expect to do well on the test. As I neared the test, however, a mixture of rising competitiveness with myself and growing confidence with the test definitely raised my expectation to a score of perfect or near-perfect. Overall, it took me 35+ hours of prep and 10 practice tests to believe that I had a good chance of obtaining a perfect score. It certainly didn’t happen overnight, and it took a lot of determination and hard work before I started to see appreciable results on my practice tests.

Courtesy of Connor Kantrud

Q: What are some things that you’ve struggled with during school and how did you over come them?

A: My biggest struggle in high school has definitely been trying to find a balance between schoolwork and other areas of my life. In today’s day and age, there are so many competing interests that are more compelling or enjoyable than studying or homework. I’ve definitely fallen into the trap of spending too much time playing video games or watching Netflix, and then I’ve had to rush through an essay or project that I procrastinated. This has been especially true with online school over the last quarter. Being at home surrounded by the allure of anything but that essay I had to write, it was incredibly difficult to stay focused on my schoolwork and college applications. I did find a few things that have helped me resist the temptation of wasting time – namely finding a different space in my house to do my schoolwork and blocking out set times for working on school assignments. These two simple changes to my schedule really helped me reign in the constant distraction that I was feeling, and they helped me to be more productive and focused when I needed to be.

Q: Has high school changed your perception of the world? What are some things that your experience at ACP taught you about the real world?

A: My experience in high school at ACP has revolutionized my perception of the real world. From the start of my freshman year at ACP, I was introduced to the importance of accountability. Losing the comfortable bubble of junior high, where grades didn’t really matter, radically changed my worldview. Taking on the responsibility of my own future was a challenge at the time, but served as a great introduction to what the real world is going to be like. As I approach graduation, I’m increasingly thankful for the experience that I’ve had at ACP with personal responsibility and accountability. Without such an early introduction to these principles and support from the teachers and faculty, I have no doubt that my path would be wildly different.

There is a difference between skill and determination: you don’t need to be skilled to be determined, but you need to be determined to be skilled. It’s not impossible to achieve your goals, no matter how difficult or nearly impossible they might seem because at the end of the day, it will all be worth it. It might take a very long time for it to be in your reach, but as long as you stick with it and work your hardest, it will be in the palm of your hands.