Quitting: Not always a bad thing

February 1, 2017 — by Eric Sze

Quitter — the word that nobody ever wants to be called. No one wants to be “the weak one who couldn’t handle it.” When things are getting difficult, shouldn’t people be showing their true strength and persevering? After all, we’re always taught that when you encounter challenges, you become stronger when you overcome them.

 

Quitter — the word that nobody ever wants to be called. No one wants to be “the weak one who couldn’t handle it.” When things are getting difficult, shouldn’t people be showing their true strength and persevering? After all, we’re always taught that when you encounter challenges, you become stronger when you overcome them.

Most of us are raised to believe that quitting is never an option, and I’m sure that everyone has heard the cliché “a winner never quits and a quitter never wins.”

It’s important that this mentality be instilled in children and adults alike, because it’s often the only way to success. For example, last year I decided to take AP Calculus BC, which is by far the most challenging course that I had ever taken in high school. On my first test, I received 68 percent, considered slightly below average by California standards, but by Saratoga standards, I had failed in every way possible.

My parents urged me to drop down from BC to the easier AB, but I refused, spending hours outside of class reviewing the material, reworking homework problems that I had gotten wrong and completing extra sets of problems. In the end, I succeeded, raising my grade more than 15 percent and scoring a 5 on my AP exam in May.

Likewise, when I was a junior, I also became the head graphics editor for the Falcon, despite having almost no background in creating graphics whatsoever. No matter how frustrated I became with Adobe Illustrator, I forced myself to learn, taking advice from other graphic artists. I felt a sweeping sense of relief and pride when I saw the first printed newspaper issue with the credit, “Graphic by Eric Sze,” under my work. My name? As a graphic artist? I could hardly believe it. I went on to do dozens of more graphics and now people know me as something of a graphics artist.

For me, quitting the other activities I had no passion for opened the whole new world of graphic design and art. Ever since I was young, I knew that there was something a little different about me; I didn’t fit the common stereotype of what a “boy” should be. But because my 5-year-old mind believed that boys did not engage in activities like arts but rather, played video games and sports, I joined soccer and Taekwondo. And I hated them. I never really cared or got competitive over kicking a ball into a goal. It never really had much of an appeal to me. My dad was often agitated than me, yelling from the sides to “stop daydreaming” and to “try for once and score a goal.”

After quickly coming to the realization that I did not belong in the game of soccer, I tried my hand at Taekwondo, which I immediately had a bad impression of upon setting foot in the studio, as it reeked of feet. Similarly, I could never really understand the point of breaking wood boards. Furthermore, I kept getting yelled at for not addressing my elders and instructors, and I’d often had to do 30 pushups as a punishment. The longer I stayed, the unhappier I became.

It wasn’t until after I had given up all these activities that I could try my hand at photography — hence leading me into all sorts of various art activities, like graphic design.

Many people, especially parents, have a mindset that if their kid quits something like piano or math club, they will quit every time they reach an obstacle in life. But this is an extreme exaggeration. Quitting an activity as a result of unhappiness and feeling burned out is often the best option. And once you find something that you’re truly passionate about, you won’t feel like quitting, regardless of how hard or stressful it gets.