How to Succeed: Mind and Body

William Wang ’24 in Features | November 11, 2022

Succeeding at Lawrenceville takes a certain kind of mindset. After a year and a half at the School, I'm still spending an hour each Sunday trying to decide on which task management tool I should use for the rest of the term. Should I use Google Docs, todoist, or Notion? The trophy is still up for grabs. Whatever it is, the way each student embarks on the unrelenting journey of pursuing success at Lawrenceville is as varied as their own definitions of “success.”
Most students believe that their performance in classes is the foundation for all types of success at Lawrenceville. For William Huang ’24, the two quintessential traits of his academic endeavors are discipline and time management. Although these traits are applicable both in and out of school, Huang believes that they most clearly reveal themselves in an academic setting. Huang recalled his grueling work on a post lab for the infamous “Honors Chemistry” course. “Burning the midnight oil and staying up late to ensure the quality of my work was difficult, but by ultimately staying disciplined and consuming half a honeydew melon, I was able to finish my lab report,” Huang said. In his eyes, a healthy balance between school work, socializing, and rest requires an inhuman kind of discipline. 
Garrett Heffern ’24 echoed similar sentiments as Huang; in Heffern's eyes, success relies on the “unquestioning dedication to the grind.” Heffern is a staple of the Woodhull House Library; he is found at all hours of the day staring mindlessly at his computer on top of his gray laptop sleeve. Despite being a day student, Heffern often spends more time in the House than most boarders do in the evenings, working in the library well through most of study hall. Although Heffern stresses the significance of finding a balance between social, academic, and extracurricular activities, he also warns of the damaging consequences of self-doubt, emphasizing the importance of self-confidence. He added that “dedication extends to studying, sports, and clubs. Still, work often seems…rewarding before you question the value of putting so much time into specific areas. It's important to…stay motivated.”
For Assistant Dean of Students Doug Davis, there is no singular trait that makes for a successful Lawrentian. Davis believes that a successful student “must be able to explore and make the most of what Lawrenceville has to offer by competing both in the classroom and beyond.” However, he stresses that the road to success at Lawrenceville is not a solitary endeavor; it requires vulnerability on the students’ part and peers who uplift each other: “Success at Lawrenceville is never done so alone. It requires vulnerability. Students must be confident in their abilities and recognize their weaknesses; they must find peers [who] support and challenge each other.” In Davis’s eyes, the Lawrentians who make an impact beyond their immediate communities are strong-willed, unrelenting, and patient; they make ample use of all the opportunities that Lawrenceville can provide.
Success at Lawrenceville does not happen overnight, nor does it come naturally. It is not about grades or titles, but rather the process and balance needed to accomplish these achievements. Success at Lawrenceville takes time and patience; it requires initiative and changes in the little details of one’s daily routine that create lasting effects on a Lawrentian’s life.