Different circumstances

Today I went to Milton Herschel School and man this school is the coolest thing I’ve ever seen

It must be over 4 times as big as Vilanova’s 250 acre campus

Children lived in mansions which houses up to 14 kids

The school where they took classes looked more like a tiny college

And there was just so much free land and greenery

But the students at MHS all come from underprivileged communities

Which is good and bad

Good because it allows kids without the right circumstances to flourish through support and education

Bad because some times the circumstances of a child isn’t where they go to school or how much money you throw at them

The graduating classes of MHS often have huge disparity in terms of where the children end up

My friend who goes to Villanova has friends at Princeton, UPenn, Georgetown and other esteemed universities

But out of his 200 graduating class, he notes several who have dropped out of college after one or few semesters and maybe 15 have ended up starting families already before they’ve turned 20, which also forces them to leave school

It’s an interesting case study of whether or not it’s possible to “help” people through institutions like MHS

How can we truly help people besides simply financially and educationally? I think personal life and EQ skills are just as important to teach besides a good education and scholarships for school

Not everyone is fit for school

But everyone is fit for life. And I think life skills is something we need to better teach future generations

Advertisements

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?

Succeed with too little or struggle with too much

My freshman year of college I had a 3.94 GPA. I had all A’s and two A-‘s.

But if I am being completely honest, that doesn’t mean as much as people think. Because there’s more context to it. And I don’t want to say any of this to gloat, because there are still people who graduate with a 4.0, and there are people who work way harder than I do–which is essentially the topic of this post.

Let me first give some context. My freshman year of college was easier than I expected because:

  1. I came in with 5 AP exams (4 of which was self-taught) so a lot of the hard work that I missed out on my freshman year at Villanova was shifted to my high school years. And that made sense because I was chronically stressed my Junior year of high school.
  2. Villanova School of Business is known for having a significantly easy 1st year (relative to STEM).
  3. My second semester I went to Singapore to study abroad, which meant I only took 4 courses rather than the 6 I am taking right now.

I barely remember studying for any of my classes. My final exams went and came in a blur as if I didn’t even take them.

But now, here I am, a sophomore.

Taking a full course load of 19 credits, 6 courses.

A lot of this content is new to me, so it’s not like I can skimp by without actually studying. Last semester, I definitely struggled. Near the end of the Fall semester, I was constantly calculating how my grades fell within each course, hoping that my GPA wouldn’t fall too heavily.

So here’s the dilemma I’ve been having with myself as I approach course selections for next year: should I try to succeed with less, or struggle with more?

A lot of people would consider a 4.0 GPA “successful”

But as I said at the beginning of this post: we need more context.

I can get a 4.0 GPA. A lot of people can. Granted, the best way to do that would also have an asterisk next to that GPA, because that would mean I’d have to drop my humanities courses (which I love, but, it’s really hard to get an “A” in a class where the central thesis is “what is God” or “what does it mean to be Human?”)

But what if I choose to overload every semester, and continue to challenge myself with 6 courses. I’d sacrifice my time to do other things. I want to write more. I want to do more podcasting. I want to create content for YouTube and magic. I want to read more.

There’s nothing wrong with taking more courses and challenging yourself.

At the end of my 4 years of university, if anything, I hope I can come out with not only a diploma but also the ability to say I took interesting courses and challenged myself intellectually.

But the asterisk is this: what am I sacrificing to do that?

Is it better to succeed with less, or struggle with more?

At some point, I think I need to realize I have to level up and go to the next level. I can’t stay in this stage, because if I stay in this stage, I know I’ll “succeed”, but I also know I won’t grow.

The more I struggle, the more I learn.

I definitely think I’ve been too complacent. With my time. With my energy. With my resources.

It’s time to kick it into high gear…

But after I come back from Spring Break 🙂

 

Live to trade another day

Often when I’m day trading stocks and I profit for the day, I want to keep going. I want to use the positive momentum. But what I’ve learned is that often in those instances I start trading with emotion and I end up losing partially the gains I made earlier in the day.

Even with day-trading stocks, it’s important to understand that life isn’t a sprint… it’s a marathon. And you want to be consistent and show up every morning. Take it one step at a time; live to trade another day.

Book for 2019: The Headspace Guide to Meditation and Mindfulness

I was inspired by my high school teacher to share the books I’ve been reading and plan to read for 2019 here on my blog. Last year I finished 50 books, and although I did discuss a few of them, I think it would be good for me to reflect on each book I finish.

Meditation is weird because people often think that it is difficult (as I did too), which is a paradox. Meditation is perhaps the only time during the day that I actively try to DO NOTHING and allow my mind to be free.

This book, written by the Founder of Headspace, was a great introduction to the world of meditation and mindfulness and is also one of Bill Gates’ top 5 books of 2018.

As I’ve been using the Headspace app for the past 3 months (almost daily), I did already know many of the teachings that were written in this book. So, for those that don’t currently meditate, and would like to dive into the world of mindfulness and Headspace, I would totally recommend you pick up this book to learn more and hopefully drive you to continue on this path.

I would have to say that meditation and mindfulness practice has been the best habit I’ve picked up recently, and I will no doubt continue to consider this one of the best habits of my lifestyle that I hope may continue for many years. It’s amazing how 10-minutes a day can change your life.

Get it here on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2MbiCLl

https___images.ctfassets.net_v3n26e09qg2r_y7ZJpb3irQKq2m2uScCeI_ad056d746ddb16b2569a9b8349dc0e19_headspace_guide.png

Priorities

I’ve been practicing mindfulness prioritization for the past week, and honestly, I’ve been struggling with it.

What are my priorities?

I have maybe too many…

I want to do well in school. 

But I also don’t want to sacrifice my other interests, like basketball, magic, writing, reading, investing/trading stocks

And where does leisure fit into all of this? 

Do I set aside time to rest, watch Netflix, hang out with friends, taking care of my health?

I want to start these new things too, like learning how to dance, playing more violin, learning a third language, learning how to code, jogging and working out. My irrational brain tells me I need a girlfriend right now as if that’ll help solve any problems. 

I think, honestly, I need to prioritize one thing right now, and that is getting through till December 20th. December 20th I’ll be back home, and I’ll have more time, more freedom, more space, more privacy. I’ll be able to spend a bit more time without all this clutter in my life to really take a good look and see what my true priorities are.

I call it the 5×5 rule.

Write down the 25 most important things you want to accomplish in the next 5 years. Go crazy. There are no limits to what you put on this list and do not think too much about it.

Then, circle the 5 most important things from that list of 25. After you’ve circle 5, erase everything else. None of those other things are important. Now, under those 5 most important things, list 5 active things you can and will do to help you achieve those 5 goals.

I hope I can find some time to set priorities like this soon. Maybe I’ll find some time tomorrow, or maybe I’ll do it right after I post this blog post, or maybe I might have to wait till December 20th. Either way, my priorities are confused right now…and I really need to figure out what is important to me before I get more lost.