What can others learn from young achievers? This week, we seek advice from Priyang Shah, 18, a Myers Park High graduate who was crowned national champion in congressional debate in June. He is an Eagle Scout, was editor of the school newspaper and president of the International Baccalaureate Student Council, and will attend Duke in the fall, after traveling through his native India this summer.
Q: Whats one thing worth remembering in tough times?
There are always people willing to help. Asking for assistance is a far cry from weakness.
Q: Whats the best thing to say when you walk into a room full of people you dont know?
To smile and introduce myself. Public speaking is my strength, and I still get nervous speaking in front of large crowds or meeting new people. The key is just to be confident. It can get you much farther than you think.
Q: To be considered wise, what must you know?
Yourself. Its tough to learn new things when you arent comfortable with who you are first.
Q: What has been the greatest obstacle you have had to overcome?
Realizing that failure teaches far more than success.
Q: What is a motto you tend to live by?
You make your own luck.
Q: When youre tired and dont want to work anymore, how do you get yourself to keep going?
Reminding myself that its all worth it in the end (a little caffeine helps, too).
Q: What character trait of yours was most responsible for your success?
Perseverance. There is no substitute for hard work.
Q: What are three things everyone should always have with them?
A sense of humor, a sense of humility and a good amount of common sense.
Brittany Penland: firstname.lastname@example.org