Dr. Wallace: I’m not a gifted student. I work extra hard and long on my studies to maintain a B average. Because of my limited educational ability, I know that I won’t become a college professor or a medical doctor.

This means I must concentrate on professions that don’t cater to the gifted. I have set a reasonable goal for my future. I would really appreciate any advice you can give me so I can reach my goal successfully and have a wonderful productive life. P.S. I’m a 16-year-old girl.

Nameless, Niagara Falls, N.Y.

Nameless: As a teacher, I have observed students with average ability become highly successful professionals. I’ve had the good fortune to speak to large groups of teens in many parts of the country — from Newport Beach, Calif. to Seattle, Wash. to Lake Charles, La. and Gary, Ind. I always leave them with what I call my “5 D’s for Reaching Your Goals and Finding Success.” Follow them, and find out where they take you.

Dream. I encourage all teens to dream, and then set attainable goals on the way to realizing that dream.

Dedication. It takes dedication and planning to reach all your goals.

Determination. You won’t reach your goals unless you make doing so a priority. It takes gritty determination in the face of setbacks and discouragement to make your dreams come true.

Diligence. Allow nothing to stop you from achieving your goals. Temptation will try to slow your efforts, but be strong and stay the course.

Delight. Hurray! You’ve done it! Don’t forget to savor your accomplishments every step of the way.

Everyone can dream, set goals and reach that dream! This opportunity is not a function of grade-point average. It’s each person’s birthright.

Write to Dr. Wallace
at rwallace@galesburg.net