Friday, April 20, 2007

Don't Give Up On Them

Having been in school for seven years now, I am definitely feeling the lag that comes with being an undergraduate turning 25. As I browsed through RYS, I've had laughs and frowns at all sorts of the subjects talked about. I laugh and feel a twinge of guilt for offering the very excuses you guys list, I feel sad for the engineering student whose professor thinks it better he drop out, and of course I feel bad for the professor as well.

At one point in college, I pointed my fingers at anyone and everyone but myself. It was a very brief period of time. Denying that the problems were my fault was stupid, and eventually I came around to that conclusion: it was just me and my laziness. Still, I could not bring myself to work hard. The simple truth? I was not college material. However, this is not said with any sense of finality in it. It merely suggests that at this time period, I was not suited to be in college. There are many other students out there who are the same way. Sometimes they can know beforehand they are not suited for higher education, but sometimes they have to play the game to find out.

In the past half a year, all this has changed for me. All of a sudden I can attend my 8 am class, study, and be on top of things. Delivering good results has never been easier. And why? I find a couple of simple reasons have made this possible.

I was reminded of having a dream. A goal. A purpose. And I thirsted for it, moreso than the social club of college. I wanted to go somewhere, explore new territory, figure out the world a little more. Professors who handled adversity well kept me at it. Those few who didn't tell me to bugger off, had something they wanted me to learn. They were tough but fair.

Then there were professors of great character and elegance. Those people had students of all sorts of levels and helped them develop their promise. I recognize the results of the Pygmalion effect and am proud to be a product of it. In these classes at the end of the quarter, it was good to see that good reviews did not come with easy grading, but was equated instead with a good grasp of knowledge and a solid set of developed fundamentals.

So to you professors, thank you very much. As Rober Wolders said, "Having known a few elegant people, I think in all of them their personal style is a result of their unwillingness to compromise on their values and their ability to focus on what's basic and real." And these are the amazing professors one recalls even after decades.

Perhaps some of you are right. Not everyone belongs in college. But don't lose hope and never fail to be the pillars you are. You never know when a diamond in the rough will pass your way.