Friday, November 18, 2011

The Gospel of Self-Determination Part II

Every graduation speech hinges on somebody invoking the gospel of self-determination, “If you can dream it, you can do it.”  These types of sayings can lead to disappointment and failure, because not all accomplishment are open to all people.  Relentlessly hard work is necessary for any great accomplishment, but these goals must be correctly attained.  College is going to be a grind, when you begin your career it will be a grind, when you get married at times it will be a grind, and when you have children… you get the point. 
            How exactly does a dream die?  Most high school freshmen boys will raise their hand when I ask which of them will be playing a pro sport, but by the senior year the dream is over as most have not put in the overwhelming effort and time to get to the point where they get courted by colleges.  The problem is that the damage has been done. Kids, now young adults, who thought they were going to play a pro sport put little stock in working hard at their academics to prepare for the rigors of college.  For the athletes who make it to the college level athletically, they will have to wait until a later step in the filtration process to have that bubble burst.  An NCAA report by Clint Newlin in 2011 found that For every 10,000 high school senior varsity football players only eight will be drafted by the NFL. Furthermore, anyone who casually follows football knows that many of these draftees will be cut within the first few weeks of the preseason, so the actual probability is even more staggering.
Many students do seem to understand on some level the odds that face them, so they talk about a backup plan.  This plan is usually academic in nature, but the problem with this mentality is that students see it as a back-up plan and fail to put enough time into their studies.   This leads to subpar skills that make doing the challenging work of college impossible. 
            Simply put, the lower your skills, the more often you will need tutoring in the form of professors, study groups or even hired help.  If you had C’s in high school, you will probably struggle because your skills won’t be there for you.  You will need to devote more time to the process of studying because you have not developed study habits that can allow you to learn information more quickly.  The more you know, the more you can skip things you already know.  This gives some people an advantage over you.  The equalizer in all this is laziness, meaning theirs. While they party and sleep in, you will be studying. You should be able to make up the difference through hard work.