Today I Learn… I make a point of learning something new everyday. This is what I learn each day

1, Sep 22, 2014

Whatever your goals are in college, do something to make it happen

Filed under: Career,College — admin @ 3:24 am

Reading Time magazine, 9/22/2014 issue, “10 Questions, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg.”

Q: If you are stuck picking up dry cleaning, what’s the best way to ask your boss to take you more seriously?
A: Say, “I love this company. I love this job. I am willing to do anything, because I am that kind of person. I do want to make sure I am progressing and taking on things that are going to challenge me more. Can you walk me through the things I need to demonstrate so I can earn more responsibility?”

Q: Why do you think women are so afraid of making mistakes?
A: When men make mistakes, they don’t internalize it as their fault, so it doesn’t hurt them as much. Because gender makes us overestimate male performance and underestimate female performance, we have more tolerance for men’s mistakes.

Q: How should college women balance exploring different interests with focusing on career goals?
A: It can be either, but you have to be explicit. Maybe you want to use college to …. But don’t let life happen– make it happen.

In other word, no matter what your goals are, do something to make it happen.

1, Jul 29, 2014

College “should be preparation for a thoughtful, well-examined life”

Filed under: Career,College — admin @ 10:22 pm

I read this article not long ago, “Ivy League miseducation,” by By Anthony Zurcher. Here’s part of it.

“In a lengthy article in the latest issue of the New Republic, former Yale associate professor (and Columbia graduate) William Deresiewicz says that the prestigious private colleges dotting the US, particularly in the Northeast, are creating a class of entitled ‘zombies’.

The author of Excellent Sheep: The Miseducation of the American Elite and the Way to Meaningful Life, writes:

Our system of elite education manufactures young people who are smart and talented and driven, yes, but also anxious, timid and lost, with little intellectual curiosity and a stunted sense of purpose: trapped in a bubble of privilege, heading meekly in the same direction, great at what they’re doing but with no idea why they’re doing it.’

‘The prospect of not being successful terrifies them, disorients them.’ William Deresiewicz The New Republic.

Ivy League colleges and their ilk, says Deresiewicz, have created an education-industrial complex that processes the children of privilege from cradle to diploma and beyond.

‘The prospect of not being successful terrifies them, disorients them,’ he writes. ‘The cost of falling short, even temporarily, becomes not merely practical, but existential. The result is a violent aversion to risk.’

College shouldn’t be this way, Deresiewicz writes. Instead of four years of career training, it should be preparation for a thoughtful, well-examined life.”

It is a very good article, much worth reading and thinking…

1, Aug 11, 2013

A very friendly alumna club gathering

Filed under: College,weekend activity — admin @ 12:10 am

Yesterday, Saturday, 8/10, we went to a party organized by the local alumna club of my daughter’s college. The party was held for the two incoming students in our area, but the other one didn’t show up. In fact, she didn’t have any communication with the local club president at all.

We not only had a good lunch, but also got to know some people there and learned a lot about her college. Most of them graduated from that college. I had good chats with some of them — one graduating this year, one in year 2007, one 1994, one 1997. The one who graduated in 2007 went to law school at KU and is working here.

They made great efforts to be helpful and friendly, answering questions as best as they could, which made the party very successful. We had a good time there.

1, Jun 27, 2013

College cost, investment into your child’s future

Filed under: College — admin @ 12:50 am

I had a monitor visit yestoday. Before starting his work, he asked me about my trip home and what I did back in China. I told him my daughter went back with me this time, right before she went to college this fall. So we did some sightseeings for her sake, as she doesn’t go back as often as I do.

When the monitor asked about my daughter college, I told him where she would go. From there, the conversation turned to the cost of college. His children are still young, one being 10 years old, the other 12. Still, he was shocked at the cost. He said he would discourage his children from going to these expensive colleges. His wife is still paying on her college loans after 20 years of their marriage.

I shared with him my idea on investment in education. The money we put in stock market fluctuates everyday. Sometimes we lost over ten thousands in a matter of a few days. It is never the safest investment. But I trust investment in education is the most worthy and safest one. My daughter is 18 years old and understands the sacrifice that we have gone through in supporting her college. I am sure she will make most out of this experience.

1, May 22, 2013

Majoring in debt stories, sad ones

Filed under: College — admin @ 12:19 am

I read this story on Huffingtonpost on 5/2/2013 — a group of young college or post graduates having one thing in common: a huge debt on their backs.

What is disturbing to me is this sense of unjustice or being misguided or being abused or this I-am-not-to-blame attitude. Like a girl who has borrowed deeply for a creative writing major says, “I’m all for paying high prices for good value — and my education was certainly of quality — but I’m not in the market to be abused. From interest rates to the ease of borrowing, to confusion of terms and steadily climbing price of college tuition, I guess I have to thank all of the higher education system while I have the floor to speak. To the loan companies, the banks and private colleges: thank you. I and my peers will forever be indebted to you.”

Furthermore, she questions “why are my poor peers and I being punished for wanting to do what we love in the first place? Is my generation not one of information-hungry self-starters? Are we not the focused dreamers raised on Harry Potter and ADHD medication?” I would say she punishes herself for getting herself into this situation.

Sounds like a bunch of dreamers out there, not knowing they need to grow up, make a living on their own and be financially responsible in the first place before they can talk about their grand impractical dreams. Somebody got to pay for their immaturity and not doing research on job market before plunging themselves into a life of debt burden.

1, Apr 18, 2013

The high dropout rate of US college students cost billions

Filed under: College — admin @ 12:51 am

I am all about college education now because my daughter is going for one of them this fall.

Last week I read this article written about a year ago, “11 Public Universities with the Worst Graduation Rates” by BLAIRE BRIODY, The Fiscal Times.

“Just 56 percent of college students complete four-year degrees within six years, according to a 2011 Harvard Graduate School of Education study. Among the 18 developed countries in the OECD, the U.S. was dead last for the percentage of students who completed college once they started it ― even behind Slovakia.”

“An American Institutes for Research report last year estimated that college dropouts cost the nation $4.5 billion in lost earnings and taxes.”

The reasons for college dropout ranges from the cost to unpreparedness. Even for those who complete college education, many of them are burdened with debt, equipped with few skills and employment opportunities. Some call America’s for-profit universities “dropout factories.”

This provides both parents and college-bound students a serious food for thought.

1, Mar 23, 2013

The cost of higher education is skyrocketing while a college degree is losting value

Filed under: College — admin @ 12:45 am

I was considering funding my daughter’s college when I bumped into these facts. Some of the colleges that my daughter was planning on going are in the list.

Top 10 most expensive colleges:
1. Sarah Lawrence College, Total Cost: $61,236
2. New York University, Total Cost: $59,837
3. Harvey Mudd College, Total Cost: $58,913
4. Columbia University, Total Cost: $58,742
5. Wesleyan University, Total Cost: $58,202
6. Claremont McKenna College, Total Cost: $58,065
7. Dartmouth College, Total Cost: $57,996
8. Drexel University, Total Cost: $57,975
9. University of Chicago, Total Cost: $57,711
10. Bard College, Total Cost: $57,580

Business Insider shows “The 20 Most Expensive Colleges In America,” by Julie Zeveloff. The expenses include tuition, fees, room and board in 2011-2012
#20 Pitzer College in Claremont, Calif. $54,988
#19 Haverford College in Haverford, Pa. $55,050
#18 Boston College in Boston, Mass. $55,079
#17 Washington University in St. Louis, MO. $55,111
#16 Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, NY. $55,135
#15 Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, NJ. $55,276
#14 Bates College in Lewiston, Maine. $55,300
#13 Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH. $55,365
#12 University of Chicago in Chicago, Ill. $55,416
#11 Trinity College in Hartford, Conn. $55,450
#10 Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn. $55,556
#9 Barnard College in New York, NY. $55,556
#8 Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, NY. $55,592
#7 Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD. $55,742
#6 Claremont McKenna College in Claremont, Calif. $55,865
#5 Wesleyan University in Middletown, Conn. $56,006
#4 Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, Calif. $56,268
#3 Columbia University School of General Studies in New York, NY. $56,310
#2 New York University in New York, NY. $56,787
#1 Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, NY. $59,170

1, Mar 15, 2013

Well-educated generation but not optimistic

Filed under: College — admin @ 12:19 am

Yesterday, I posted one on top-notched universities suing their graduates, which show a depressing job market for well-educated young people.

The situation is not going to improve in the near future. With the recent prolonged economic downturn, more and more seniors, who have seen their savings cut by half, hold on to their jobs as long as their health permits.

The longer they stay on their position, the less opportunities for the younger generation to move up. Unfortunately, in this fight between senior and the young, the latter might suffer most, even though they might be the most educated generation that the country has ever produced.

1, Mar 14, 2013

Yale, Penn and George Washington University have all sued former students over nonpayment

Filed under: College,Economy — admin @ 12:15 am

On 2/4/2013, I read an article, “Yale Suing Former Students Shows Crisis in Loans to Poor,” by Janet Lorin.

Many college graduates, unable to find a job upon graduation, “are defaulting on almost $1 billion in federal student loans earmarked for the poor, leaving schools such as Yale University and the University of Pennsylvania with little choice except to sue their graduates.”

The worst part is the record high defaults on federal Perkins loans “may jeopardize the prospects of current students since they are part of a revolving fund that colleges give to students who show extraordinary financial hardship.”

Perkins loans are earmarked for students with extraordinary financial hardship. They are administered by colleges, which use repayment money to lend to other poor students. Yale, Penn and George Washington University have all sued former students over nonpayment.

I have learned that not just the government but also the universities that will go after those who can’t pay. But given the current job market, what can they get from suing their graduates who are unable to pay back their student loans?

1, Feb 25, 2013

Education without opportunities means waste of money and time

Filed under: College — admin @ 12:09 am

I am so preoccupied with education that I never let go anything on this topic before my eyes, though I am sure I have read this and probably have written on it before. Huffpost Business reports on 1/29/2013, “Half Of Recent College Grads Work Jobs That Don’t Require A Degree” by William McGuinness.

The Center for College Affordability and Productivity concludes in its report that while college-educated Americans are less likely to collect unemployment, many of the jobs they do have aren’t worth the price of their diplomas.

The harsh reality about college degree and employment is: “of 41.7 million working college graduates in 2010, about 48 percent of the class of 2010 work jobs that require less than a bachelor’s degree, and 38 percent of those polled didn’t even need high school diplomas.”

The data calls into question a national education platform that says higher education is better in an economy that favors college graduates. But when people spend a large amount of money on education, the country is not capable of providing adequate opportunities for the college graduates.

It is a waste of both money and time for a college graduate to end up with a job that only a high school degree will do.

1, Feb 20, 2013

Nothing is guaranteed to you when you go to a college

Filed under: Career,College — admin @ 12:17 am

On 2/14/2013, Valentine’s Day, I read this sad story about a college graduate applying for food stampts. “Young, Privileged, and Applying for Food Stamps,” by Karina Briski, 5/29/2012

She has a Bachelor degree in Sociology, which, according to her, “has fed many early curiosities, giving me the adequate chops for things like fighting cultural myopism, defending Marxism, and buying my professors’ books.” All these fun stuffs but nothing practical or nothing that could bring in paychecks.

After graduation, she spent over three years chasing entry-level work with nonprofits. She saw no success after some more years, though she has “gotten really good at scraping the gunk off of ketchup bottles.” Having failed on nearly all fronts, she turned to government handouts.

Her failure to make a decent living after a college education comes from the myth that many have held, that is, “the educated middle class as automatic recipients of middle class incomes” and “the assumption that college is some great equalizer (was it ever?).”

I hope college students keep this in mind, that is, nothing is guaranteed when you go to a college or when you graduate from a college. Your major, your hard work, your network, your connections, and your accomplishments during these four college years all play key parts in the outcome and in the life beyond college.

1, Dec 23, 2012

Where is the American dream?

Filed under: College,Economy — admin @ 12:12 am

Yesterday I talked about college degree and its following debts for many graduates. On 12/3 I read another even more depressing piece of news “Downward mobility haunts US education” by Sean Coughlan.

For many people, a part of the American Dream is the upward mobility through education. If they didn’t have college education and have been trapped in their economic status, their children will move upward through college education and that the children will always be better educated and more prosperous than the previous generation.

With the depressing job market, the prolonged economic downturn, and heavy student debts, that American dream, that upward mobility in the next generation is under serious threat.

“Andreas Schleicher, special adviser on education at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), says the US is now the only major economy in the world where the younger generation is not going to be better educated than the older.”

Instead of moving upward, are we going to see “downward mobility?” as some people suggest. The author cites many examples to reach this conclusion — yes, we will have “the opposite of a Hollywood ending.”

This is a serious matter for the future of U.S. economy and of course for the coming generation.

1, Dec 22, 2012

College degree, cost, investment and returns

Filed under: College — admin @ 12:46 am

On 12/10/2012, I read an article by Jill Martin “US student loans: The trillion dollar debt trap.” The article cites some depressing yet also familiar examples of young people heavily burdened by student debts.

One 27-year-old with a PhD and $150,000 debt. She is expected to pay monthly payments of $1,600. “I just cannot pay that amount,” she says, and having tried to negotiate with several lenders without success, she is losing her will to fight. When I read this, I was thinking “If you cannot make that much to pay for this degree, why did you borrow for that degree in the first place? Why couldn’t you get scholarship for it?”

She is very much representing the widespread student debt problem of the nation, a one trillion dollar headache for the US economy – and it is only getting worse.

“As the cost of a university education soars, default rates are on the rise. Some estimates say that more than five million borrowers in the US have defaulted on their student loans. Almost 375,000 people defaulted in the latest year alone, the US Department of Education says.”

Indeed, if the young graduates cannot find jobs to even make a living, they have no other choice but defaulting their debts.

This once again forces us to consider the question of investing in a college degree, its cost and its return, and for some people, whether or not this investment is worthwhile. If you cannot recoup the cost of that degree in the next decade or two, ask yourself if you are better off investing your time and money elsewhere.

1, Oct 23, 2012

College admission process, part II

Filed under: College — admin @ 1:11 am

It is so easy to become cynical about community service and other extracurricular activities. In that, people see the volunteer work as not really being voluntary, as doing it only for the purpose of getting into, going through the motions without real interests, of course no passion involved.

I have to say it takes certain level of maturity to adopt a positive attitude toward what you are doing. The bottom line is to be able to answer the question: what you want to do with your life and what kind of person you want to become.

First, a mature and responsible person would try to squeeze more value out of the time he/she throws in for the large schema that she has for her life. Whatever she gets involved in, gets 200 percent involved  instead of marginally involved.

Second, do what you are interested in and do it creatively. If say, you like to eat certain foods, try to create your own version of that food or think of a way to benefit others who might share your like.

Third, other than hitting books, you absolutely need to do something to enhance your ability, to explore and expand. These activities increase not only your  marketability but also your chance of being admitted. If you don’t start doing this in high school, you will have to make it up in  college. I have learned a couple of cases where students fail to make a living  upon graduation from top schools.

Finally, be a real good person, kind and unselfish. I bet that’s what you really are now. Don’t be afraid to show how good you are because that’s what everybody likes.

 

1, Oct 22, 2012

College admission process, part I

Filed under: College — admin @ 1:07 am

On 10/10/2012, I heard from NPR morning edition “Justices Return To Affirmative  Action In Higher Ed” by Nina Totenberg. There are some information on college admission process. The university normally combines two scores when considering admission.

The first is the Academic Index, based on grades and board scores. The second is the Personal Achievement Index, based on two independently graded essays plus six other factors: leadership potential, honors and awards, work experience, community service, extracurricular activities and special circumstances.

Only this last category, special circumstances, can include consideration of race or ethnicity, or, for that matter, economic circumstances, or whether the applicant comes from a home where English is not spoken.

The overall Personal Achievement Index score, a maximum of 6, is combined with the  Academic Index score, and then plotted on a graph. Based on the available number of seats, everyone above a certain combined score on the graph is admitted, and everyone below is rejected.

1, Sep 19, 2012

You will get there as long as you don’t give up.

Filed under: Career,College — admin @ 12:17 am


Last weekend, I went to Costco, where I met a Chinese couple. About two years ago, they were certain their son would be accepted by MIT, but that didn’t happen. The mother was very upset and the son felt hurt. The incident reminds me of this Chinese poem.

I didn’t ask them about their son as I was not sure how they felt about it now. Much as I was anxious to share with them some of my thought on college education, I did not say anything to them. I thought it a good policy not to offer advice when I am not asked to.

If the boy were my son, I would tell him to work hard during the first year of college at KU, then transfer to MIT with both your high school and college achievements. That is, if MIT is the place of his dream.

If that doesn’t work, get your bachelor in three instead of normal four years, graduate summa cum laude, apply for MIT graduate program.

I am sure there are more than one roads leading to Rome. You will get there as long as you don’t give up. In the long run, being resourceful, resilient and persistent will help you more than anything else.

1, Sep 14, 2012

Almost half of students fail to complete their college degree in 4 years

Filed under: College — admin @ 12:03 am

On 8/26, Sunday afternoon, while at Barnes & Noble’s with my daughter, I read this piece of information, which I might have read before but without paying attention.

Almost half of American college students fail to complete their college degree in four years. Almost a third of them drop out of college.

I am no longer surprised now after I learn from my son that many of his high school and college friends graduated this year instead of last year. Many college students, without helicopter parents, fail at least in time management, self-regulation and self-control.

I think of my son, which took seven required classes in his last semester, plus a trip to Europe and job interviews. Whoa! What a crazy life! Something for my daughter to think about.

1, Nov 20, 2011

Education, Pursuit of Your Dream, and Pure Sense and Cent

Filed under: College,Economy — admin @ 12:24 am

During the last weekend of October, both my daughter and I read the 10/31/2011 issue of Time magazine. She made several comments on some of the articles there.

On this article “I Owe U: Student debt is on track to top $1 trillion this year. What happens when diplomas stop opening doors?,” the author lists many sad cases in which students incur tremendous amount of debts, yet upon graduation, unable to find a job or well-paid one to meet its debt obligations.

“OMG, how could one borrow nearly $170, 000 to study documentary filmmaking? You can’t even find a job with that major. How can you pay off your debts if you don’t have a job?” my daughter commented. The sad part is we have too many unfortunate cases like this.

While I applaud for those who chase their dreams and follow their passions, regardless of the cost, I lament the hard consequence of this impractical approach to life. I believe they are much better off chasing something practical if they cannot excel by a giant step in their dream yet not-marketable field. After all, one needs food and shelter and a decent human existence before anything else.

1, Nov 12, 2011

Exams, Game Play, and the Rules of the Game

Filed under: College — admin @ 12:54 am

On 10/10/2011, after I got my daughter back from school, she took an hour nap while I prepared her tea and food. After she got up, I took her to Barnes&Noble bookstore on Towncenter, where she prepared for the coming PSAT.

The next day, 10/11, we did the same thing except we went to the bookstore at Oak Park Mall, where she could find PSAT practice book.

She was going to take this exam on 10/12. I told her taking this and other exams was like playing games. All games have rules. To play well, you must know the rule and go by it. A smart student is good at finding out the rule of the game and play to her advantage.

1, Aug 25, 2011

Volunteers, Ideas, Creativity and Innovation, Part IV

Filed under: College — admin @ 12:29 am

If your parents made you start piano lesson at age 5 or drawing or Chinese or marshall art or tennis lesson or whatever your mom was fancy of cramming on you at your tender age, after 10 years of hard drilling or by the time you enter high school, you should be good enough to torture a group of 5-year-olds with the same tenacity and dead seriousness, as if they paid you a million dollar for doing that. Trust me the benefit goes far beyond any monetary measurement.

How? Go to a local primary school or library or nursing home, tell them you have skills and are willing to share them with the children or senior citizens, free of charge. You offer to organize kid’s club, teaching whatever you can brag about. People love freebies, especially now when money runs so low. Parents embrace it when their youngsters are learning something without their having to pay for it. Don’t forget to hold a performance party at the end of the activity as a report and showcase to the parents of how great you are.

During holiday season when you hear the extreme boring money-begging bell sound from Salvation Army, you volunteer to marshal a group of primary school children, teach them some crafts and sell their work. The handsome proceeds go to the Salvation Army.

If you love, say math or English, go to an elementary school and share your enthusiasm over it by offering free tutoring in math or whatever you are crazy about. After all, what’s the use of your good math skill if you don’t put it to good use? Like an investment, the earlier you put your skills to good use, the higher the return will be.

The key is be creative, be a passionate leader and be daring and original in a good way. Be one of a kind. Never ever follow the crowd like one of the mindless herd. Of course, it is always safe to follow the beaten path. But don’t you hate the idea of being safe among a crowd? I told my children security is for senior folks, definitely not for the daring youth.

Finally, your volunteer experience can potentially be a great topic for your college application essay. Now high schoolers, rise to the occasion, make difference and do something marvelously good to your otherwise boring existence.

1, Aug 24, 2011

Volunteers, Ideas, Creativity and Innovation Part III

Filed under: College — admin @ 12:37 am

I once heard this saying, somewhere I forgot where. It goes like this: the highest reward for your work is not what you get for it, but what you become because of it. An event or experience always means more than what it appears on the surface.

First of all, to the admission officer, the process of seeking volunteer opportunities reveals more of you than the fact you donate unpaid time to some place. You should make full use of this opportunity to let your outstanding character shine through your narration of this process.

Secondly, for volunteer ideas, your mind and soul must be out of the conventional box. You must believe there is an inexhaustive gold mine in you and search for this wealth inside you. If you don’t have this bottom line self-confidence, you are better off without any big dream, which is perfectly okay. After all, not many people have big dreams.

Next, think of anything you can claim to be capable of doing and are willing to share with those who is so eager to be on the receiving end as long as it is free. By the time you enter high school, you got to be good at something.
To be continued…

1, Aug 23, 2011

Volunteers, Ideas, Creativity and Innovation Part II

Filed under: College — admin @ 12:15 am

First of all, what do you want to show to the world through your volunteering activities?

1) You are unselfish when everybody tries to get something for nothing and you give something for nothing.

2) You have time to donate to a good cause that you believe in. That’s also good.

3) You are willing to make all kinds of personal sacrifices in order to get into your dream college.

If you don’t have anything other than these three reasons, this is almost the dead end for you. Because (1) it is not a challenge to come up with this; (2) it shows you are so one of the crowd, so banal, so empty of ideas and creativity or anything shining that we want to see in a leader that we don’t see the promise of a bright future in you.
To be continued…

1, Aug 22, 2011

Volunteers, Ideas, Creativity and Innovation, Part I

Filed under: College — admin @ 12:54 am

Last Saturday a Chinese parent talked to me about volunteering work for building up high-school resume. It seems an almost banal routine item that a child got to have on their resume if they aspire to any good college. The problem is — this is far from being enough.

As this parent told me, some awesome, church-attending kid going to all kinds of volunteering activities with straight-As throughout high school, yet was rejected by the college he was so ready to spend next 4 years in. “What is it that they want?” she asked.

What I see in this type of children is they are too conventional, too much of a product of a routine, going through the motions, without a demonstrated real passion for something of their own.

For a starter, here are the problems with this church-going kid and also here are some of my volunteer ideas that guarantee to push them to the frontline among thousand of applicants.
To be continued…

PS. today I took my daughter to Leawood library after school. I saw the same girl volunteering there with the same listless look, which reminded me of this posting.

1, Jun 7, 2011

Words from MIT Commencement 2011

Filed under: College — admin @ 12:47 am

“If your dreams do not intimidate you, they are not big enough.”

“Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it’s happened.”

Anshul Bhagi gave salute and presentation of the class gift, at the end of which he quoted a poem by Rudyard Kipling, part of it actually.

IF by Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;
If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same:.
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build’em up with worn-out tools;
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,

Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

Anshul changed the ending to “you’ll be an MIT alumnus, my son.”

1, Jun 6, 2011

MIT Commencement Address by Ursula Burns and Others

Filed under: College — admin @ 12:15 am

To be sure, the whole MIT commencement process was very inspiring. I hope that all the participants feel this way. The speech made by Ursula Burns was one of these moments. Below are the quotes from her speech.

“Keep it real, keep it short.”
“Do not be discourageous… extenuate the positive, eliminate the negative
“Have fun–do the career that gives you pleasure.
“Change but be true to yourself in the process

Set your sights on changing the world

“Leaving this planet a little bit better than you found it. Believe in something larger than yourself. Make a difference. Live life so that at the end of your journey, you will know your time here were well spent, that you left behind more than you take away.

“Don’t do anything that won’t make your mother proud.”

1, May 20, 2011

Summer is the Occasion for Many Activities Part II

Filed under: College — admin @ 12:19 am

Summer is the best occasion to enrich children’s life’s experience. Summer activities could include the following:
A summer camp
An internship
Self-initiated volunteer activity (Don’t ask others to give you volunteer work. Create your own)
An oral history project with a local organization
A personal project by yourself or with your friend
Pursuit of a hobby
Start your own business
Work for others
Travel + travel-log
Set a goal for the summer

For a high school student, if you plan well and manage your time, you can have an accomplished summer even if you have not attend a summer school. When you look back, you will have a very interesting story to write about, much more interesting than a classroom can offer. Very often, compared to the richness and diversities of outside world, life spent in a summer classroom is a bit boring and lack of varieties, which reminds me of the time when I had to take summer school, sitting by the window, my eyes following the flying birds and my mind wandering thousand miles away.

1, May 19, 2011

Summer is the Occasion for Many Activities Part I

Filed under: College — admin @ 12:25 am

On the evening of 5/17/2011, I went to a neighboring Chinese family to give her some of my vegetable plants. I was in a hurry to go back, still she wanted to chat about children’s summer plan and preparation for college, all the fun stuffs that we Chinese parents like to worry our heads off.

Since she asked for my advice about summer activities, I told her briefly that summer was the best time for many meaningful activities. Both of my children went to summer school during their high school years. Still, I would not recommend going to school in summer if you have something better to do.

I believe two semesters classroom learning in a year are good enough. Summer school is for those who don’t have any place to go or don’t know how to make good use of their time or who have to take some courses as they have either failed to take or failed to pass these courses. Remember we learn things not only via books but also through a variety of experience. My advice is to plan well for a fruitful summer outside school.

1, Oct 2, 2010

The Crucial Role of Good Oral Communication Skill

Filed under: College — admin @ 12:09 am

During the weekend of 9/26, I read an article by Karen Burns entitled “21 Secrets to Getting the Job.”

To be sure, this is a very long list and most of them are not even relevant to me. What captures my attention is number one on the list — Become a decent public speaker.

“What better way to shine at job interviews, or in staff meetings, or at business luncheons than to express yourself clearly, confidently, coherently, and concisely? Speaking makes you visible. Speaking makes you memorable. Speaking can even make you look smarter than you really are…”

Rightly so! In fact, being a good speaker also benefits a person who is not in job market. A good speaker always feels good about himself, often with overblown ego and higher-than-sky self-esteem. Without ever practicing public speech, a person often finds himself unable to find his tongue in public or even fear of hearing his own voice.

That’s why I have emphasized to my children the importance of good oral and written communication skills, encouraging them to take either speech or debate class.

1, Oct 1, 2010

Tyler Clementi’s death and The Thought

Filed under: College — admin @ 12:21 am

the 18-year-old committed suicide after his sex activity was filmed and posted online
I was speechless when I heard of Tyler Clementi’s tragic death, too sad to say anything. I was struck by the following.

(1) How frail and sensitive is a human mind at this tender age and how easy it is to break the ultimate limit and crush his will to live! When the parents think the boy has turned 18 years old and become independent, they are wrong again.

(2) One can never under-estimate the vulgarity and the mean-spiritedness of some human beings who film and post online the on-goings inside one’s bedroom. They are shamelessly repulsive to the extreme!

(3) Technology, specifically what goes live online via youtube, without any filtering or censor, also plays a role in this tragedy.

It leaves so much for us to ponder. How should we prepare our youngsters for th cruelty that they might encounter after they leave home for college?

1, Sep 22, 2010

Keep the Tie with Your College Kids

Filed under: College — admin @ 12:54 am

This is a fit topic for back-to-school week. On 8/13/2010, I read an article — “More college students mentally ill: The number of college students with severe mental illness, including those on psychiatric medications, is rising.” by Shari Roan, carried on Los Angeles Times. The report was based on the data presented at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Assn. in San Diego in August 2010, with the lead author of the study, John Guthman of Hofstra University.

“In 1998, 93% of the students seeking counseling were diagnosed with one mental disorder, compared to 96% of students in 2009.”

Here are two kinds of problems that college students might possibly face. That is, from what I can observe.

First of all, not all the college kids can adjust well to life away from home. When they suddenly find their freedom, they don’t know what to do with it, or they will feel lonely, isolated and are unable to make new friends when they are cut off from the old ones.

Secondly, the stress of college courses is new to nearly all of them. Some will freak out when they feel too much overwhelmed with the course load. I learned of a student from China here who failed in one after another course and simply locked himself in his apartment, going deeper into his despair and depression.

To be sure, college life, once in lifetime, away from home, surrounded by young and handsome and hopefuls, should be fun and enjoyable. You would assume so. But with the rising cases of depression and mental disorder, parents should get the warning message and start realizing that life is not as carefree as we imagine. We still need to check on them to make sure they are in good mental and emotional shape, even if they are away from home.

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