“The fruit of your own hard work is the sweetest.” ~ Deepika Padukone This is the statement that repeated in my head every day as I continuously prepared for my SkillsUSA District Competition. I can say that learning the precise steps in each skill was one of the most difficult tasks I have ever completed, but, as it’s always said, hard work pays off; I won!
I placed first out of nine contestants from western Pennsylvania! I earned the opportunity to move on to state competition in Hershey, Pennsylvania! I’m going for the gold -- again!
My junior year at LCCTC, I prepared and competed in the First Aid and CPR category for the district competition. I spent long, strenuous weeks with my Health Assisting instructor, Mr. Pavia, going over each step repeatedly. At home, I read each skill over and over again, trying to remember every precise detail. Unfortunately, even though I tried, I did not win the competition that year. This loss told me, “Don’t give up.” I wanted to prove to myself that I could earn that gold medal; I had already learned so much.
Now I’m a senior, once again, competing in SkillsUSA. The time flew by; weeks felt like days, and before I knew it, I was sitting at the New Castle School of Trades, waiting to be called back for my tests. I spent months practicing for the competition, and Friday, January 12, 2018 was the big day. It was the day to show off exactly how hard I had worked.
This year my challenge was the same; my test included five tasks: to perform the resuscitation of a choking adult, to perform CPR using an AED on a child, and to perform the treatment of a bleeding wound, splinting, and the care of a third degree full thickness burn.
I sat among nine other strangers -- all nervous, just like me, and I kept in mind that we all had the same goal: the goal to win. As I waited for the other contestants before me, I longed for my time to shine. It felt like hours. My nerves were shot, and I was beginning to have last-minute doubts in myself.
Finally, it was my turn to test. I performed each skill as I had practiced for so long before. I remembered each step explaining as I went along. I perfected each task with precision. After leaving the room, I felt a new burst of confidence.
The moment the results were posted, I found out that I won first place. The feeling is absolutely bittersweet. I have learned so much from my previous experience; one might even say, “past failures.” However, I am able to take each lesson that SkillsUSA has taught me, and use it to my full advantage -- the lessons of courage, patience, and confidence.
After all, they do always say… Hard work pays off.
~ ~ ~“Let your dreams stay big and your worries stay small.” ~ Rascal Flatts
Shelby Leasure is currently studying Health Assistance. She works at the Haven Nursing Home in New Castle. A member of SkillsUSA and ROVA, she enjoys spending time with her friends and going on as many adventures as possible. In the fall, she looks forward to attending Pittsburgh Technical College for Nursing or the University of Pittsburgh for Forensic Science.