results and hard work

I’ve considered myself a hard worker for a while now

I remember getting up at 4:30 AM to practice two hours of basketball before school started because after school I would have 2-hours of rehearsal for musical theatre and I’d be too tired to play basketball then.

I wanted to balance both basketball and theatre as well as maintain top grades.

At Villanova, I’ve constantly taken a full-credit load because I want to learn as much as possible given the fixed costs of my semester tuition.

But I have not necessarily been seeing the results of my ‘hard work’

Which makes me come to two conclusions:

  1. I am either unlucky / the universe is unfair, or:
  2. I need to work harder

Option 1 I can’t control.

Option 2 I can, which means it’s time to amp it up and keep going. I haven’t burned out yet, I’m just getting started.

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Big fish, small pond

When granted the opportunity, it’s much better for your own self-esteem and personal success if you choose to be a big fish in a small pond, rather than a small fish in a big pond.

Here’s the issue with being a small fish in a big pond. Sure, you’re in the big pond now, but you’ll get eaten.

It’s as simple as that.

If you are, instead, the big fish, you have the perfect little pond for you to grow, nurture your abilities. You have the flexibility to fail. This is your opportunity to make big mistakes, make big strides, and try to dominate your little pond.

Then you’ll be prepared for the ocean of life. And life is the biggest pond in the world.

Here’s the thing: we don’t compare ourselves to the entire world. We compare ourselves to our neighbors—our friends in the same pond.

If you choose to be an average Harvard student, you best have a lot of grit, discipline, and determination. Because you will be attacked. You will feel lesser. And it’ll be tough. The chances of survival are less, but if you do survive, you’ll have gone through the tough aspects of a big pond already.

Take a look at this chart. The bottom third SAT scores at Harvard STILL beat the TOP third at an average school. But the graduation rate is still symmetrical to that of the average school. If you are average or below average in a big pond, be prepared to be eaten.

I’d choose to be a stellar student at a lesser-known university. This is because I don’t think I’d have the emotional capacity to handle being “average” at Harvard. Everyone is “average” when compared to the entire world; I’d like to feel a little special at least for a few more years before I enter the big ocean of life.

YouTue Video: Does your school matter?

independent study

I believe that to be a true academic, you have to have some background in “independent study” while pursuing your education.

Independent study on an area that you are passionate about.

I always felt like I was being spoon-fed knowledge while in high school

I was right, because now with the advanced freedom at Villanova, I have the flexibility to study so much more–and a lot of it is independently driven.

I can select interesting classes.

And I even have signed up for an “independent study” where I literally have a self-designed course with a professor on a philosophy topic we both share an interest in.

If anything, I think college is a time to build a strong work ethic. The knowledge that comes with the diploma is nice; but not mandatory for future success. Life is full of learning opportunities. What you need to do is learn how to learn.

 

 

Knowledge Gaps

Closing knowledge gaps lead to more insightful discussion

More innovation

Better ideas

Creativity

and levels the playing field

Education is the cornerstone of today’s society

Information is what we get out of education

But what is truly important is the application of that information

Information is becoming cheaper and cheaper

While excitement for education and ability to connect the dots is becoming more valuable

Certified

The paradox of the information age is that now more then ever, if you have access to the internet, it is quite possible to become self-taught at anything you wish. Knowledge is readily available. But the paradox is that now more then ever we see people have become infatuated with certification.

Someone needs to approve of our skill. A college degree. A recommendation letter. A diploma. A certificate of some sort. A medal to show achievement.

The issue with this paradox is that we often fall into this rut of only completing tasks wherein we can be recognized for.

Knowledge for the sake of knowledge is almost frowned upon by some people. The initiative for self-knowledge is lacking.

In a world where knowledge is so readily available, let’s take advantage of it. Share information. Spread knowledge. Education is important not only for the sake of graduating, but also for the sake of producing educated people. Let’s not forget to learn for the sake of learning.

Good luck to everyone during finals season!