FBLA Story: The Sprint To Success

by Rebecca Zhu on 2016-06-26 23:04:11 PDT
Once upon a time (meaning about a week ago), I was sitting with my friend, eating an amazingly tasty acai bowl. I wish I could say we were just hanging out. Sadly, that was not the case. Both of us had our faces buried in our respective textbooks, cramming for FBLA's (Future Business Leaders of America) National Leadership Conference next week.

My first experience with FBLA was in 7th grade, when an officer from our nearby high school came to visit us during lunch. That year, I didn't find FBLA particularly interesting, especially as I was more concerned over catching the newest music video of my favorite band. The next year, however, I pushed myself to commit to it more, eventually competing in my own individual event: Business Calculations.

The content of Business Calculations is fairly self-explanatory - calculations revolving around business. Seems simple enough, right? However, things did not go as well as expected. Our high school officer told us that calculators would be provided, and that any calculators we brought would be confiscated. As a result, I showed up empty handed. Then, the officer in charge of my testing room told everyone testing that we were required to have our own calculators. That did not bode well for 8th-grader me, who ended up having to do 10-digit long division by hand. This traumatic experience limited my involvement in FBLA for the rest of the year.

The next year, I entered a new high school, friendless, not knowing who to talk to, where to eat, or what clubs to join. FBLA was one of the only clubs that I was already familiar with, so I joined once again. This time, I took part in Business Math, a similar competition. This time around, I put much more effort into studying. In addition to taking detailed notes on the textbook I was provided, I also took a plethora of practice tests. All of my hard work paid off, and I ended up earning 1st place at Bay Section, which qualified me to advance to the State Leadership Conference.

At the State Leadership Conference, I tried to follow a similar study strategy. I read my notes, took practice tests, and analyzed my mistakes in order to improve. However, this time around, my efforts fell short, failing to earn me a place. Although I was crestfallen, I viewed this experience as motivation to push myself harder the next time. Therefore, masking my sadness, I joined in the celebrations for those who did advance to the National Leadership Conference.

This year, I resolved to work hard and earn myself a spot to NLC. Competing in Business Math once more at Bay Section, I earned a solid 5th place, likely due to overconfidence from last year's success. At the State Leadership Conference, rather than studying more, I did something different. Instead of locking myself in my room, and burying myself in a pile of notes and textbooks, I spent more time socializing with friends, while maintaining adequate time to review notes. As a result of my balanced schedule, I was much less stressed while testing, allowing me to earn the title of State Champion.

Currently, I stand alone at a set of crossroads, conflicted over which path to take. Should I go all out, and pour every last drop of my energy into studying? Or should I do better to balance work with play, and enjoy myself a little so that I don't break down in tears while taking my test? These are questions that many test-takers ask themselves, but there is no straight answer. Ultimately, I believe in just going along with my instincts, whether that means spending the extra hours preparing, or touring Atlanta, the conference location, with my friends. No matter how well I do, I know for sure that I will have an amazing time forming new memories and meeting new people!

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