Baby steps

Baby steps

It’s all about baby steps

I still remember these words from

my grade 8-9 basketball coach

1% better every day

Whether that be personal life, academics, career, health, or basketball

1% better every day

Don’t worry about being a millionaire overnight

Celebrities aren’t made by one movie (they usually did several crappy movies before the star in the movie that “makes” their career)

Rome wasn’t built in one day

It’s not a lot, but baby steps eventually turn into strides, and before you even realize it, you will be running fast towards your goals

Advice for college students

Don’t be in a rush

My first advice is this:

if you are in college, you are probably anywhere from the age of 18–22.

Now imagine this. If you are 20, you could do NOTHING right, and fail at everything you try for the next 10 YEARS. And you’d still be young

So don’t be in a rush.

Next, Find the variance.

I dropped my double major in the business school and opted to pick up a Philosophy major in the College of Liberal Arts near the end of my sophomore year.

Actually, it’s not officially declared, but I intend to do so.

My second piece of advice is simple.

Learn broadly.

Take the courses you are interested in and diversify your knowledge.

Those who are innovative are able to take two interrelated disciplines and build something new.

Just like how Lindt Chocolate combines dark chocolate with chili peppers, learn how to differentiate yourself with two different attributes.

Good Luck.

why your college doesn’t matter. AT ALL

What college you attend is almost Not important at all.

Instead, you should be the type of person who could attend a prestigious college.

In fact, it was two professors, one from Princeton, who actually released a paper in 2002 that detailed why attending super-selective colleges had no impact on future career salaries (economic benefits)

How did the study work?

Well, it tracked students who 1) went to prestigious colleges

And then for the control group, 2) students who were admitted but did not attend top prestigious colleges (either due to $$$ or personal reasons, which is not apparently important in this study).

After extensive research, there showed absolutely no difference in the economic long-term benefits of attending a top college.

The salary boost was “generally indistinguishable from zero”

Top universities are not so good at developing students’ potential as they are at spotting future potential and offering spots to these bright students.

That’s not to say that prestigious colleges don’t offer much better resources and networking. They do and will surely add a kickstart to your career. But in the long-run, it doesn’t matter so much as where you went as a student as much as what type of hard-working student you are.

Also, I need to note that salary is definitively not the best measure of future success; however, when you ask most college students these days why they are attending college, the most common response you’ll receive is “for a job/money.” So, I am sure this answer should offer a lot of solace to students who are still worried about not attending Harvard.

Good Luck.


Source: Estimating the Payoff to Attending a More Selective College: An Application of Selection on Observables and Unobservables

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

Here we go again

I always thought it funny that in college, all the final exams come at the same time.

I really hope life isn’t like that. I hope that your ability to complete tasks and your knowledge on certain subjects isn’t focused on a concentrated exam.

It doesn’t do anyone justice.

Because, as most people know, habits build success, not one instance.

Almost done!

The semester is almost done and of course, I am overwhelmed with a sense of bittersweetness.

Sweet in all the memories I’ve made; bitter in all the stupid tests and stress caused by examination when I want to simply pursue knowledge.

Sweet in all the fun moments I’ve had with my friends over dinner; bitter in all the pain, rejection, fails I’ve had to endure–but in an odd way, those moments are sweet too.

I’ll miss this

I’ll miss being young. I still am young, don’t get me wrong.

But as time fade, it’s a wonder why time only moves forward and not backward. If I could travel back in time, I’d travel back to these days that I am currently living because I know I am happy. I wish I knew when the “good old days” were as I am living them. Actually, every day is one of those days, I just need to make the best of them.

Writing is fun. Writing calms me.

So does meditate.

I can’t wait for the future. But I also want to preserve the past and the present.

It’s good to enjoy the moment as it comes though. And I’m trying to do that more

“Each of us is looking for a path back to the present: We are trying to find good enough reasons to be satisfied now”

 

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.

 

 

A message to incoming college freshman

This is the time to try and fail

No one cares about how cool you look or how smart you are anymore

This ain’t high school

You’re in the big leagues

But it also means you are granted this abundant freedom

Use it wisely

Right now our greatest strength is our youth

We have time to do anything we want

This is not the time to play it safe. You don’t pay bills and you’re in a setting around other passionate students in your age group. College is your safety net to take risks

Imagine this: you could do nothing right for the next 10 years and still be young. You’d be 28

So for the next 10 years I want you to fail as many times as possible but not just failing

Trying

Finding your passion

Seeking

Good luck

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 🙂