People Like Me Were Not Meant For

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To succeed in University requires a minimum of three things: first, intelligence; you have to be smarter than the average student. Second, some sense of sociality; the ability to associate with others can help more than you might expect. Lastly, some sort of motivation or at least a good reason, because without one, there is nothing to work toward. For people like me – who lack a superior intelligence, are not very social, and whose ambitions are few and far between – the university atmosphere is a very difficult place to find success.

When it comes to intelligence people like me didn’t necessarily get the short end of the stick, however, we find it extremely difficult to, not only learn about several different subjects every day, but, to retain that knowledge. Our obligations as students are overwhelming! How can we be expected to commit to memory the zoological fact that organisms in the phylum platyhelminthes include free-living parasitic flatworms; in physics, Newton’s laws of motion cannot be applied when considering translational motion if non-conservative forces are present; and in English, comma splices occur when a coma is mistakenly placed between two independent clauses that are not joined by a coordinating conjunction. And that is just the tip of the iceberg! The amount of information students are expected to learn is mind-blowing.

A social person is one who has more than a handful of friends or at least people who don’t mind helping out. In University social people can mingle with the crowd and easily acquire things: answers to this week’s assignment, the impossible graph needed for next week’s chemistry lab, or if they are good enough, even the answers to the test they didn’t study for. People like me, however, don’t have this luxury. We simply are not sociable and do not like to interact with people outside of our comfort zone; which includes almost every one in our programs, even the teachers. And so our questions pile up with no one but ourselves to look to for answers.

Norman R. Augustine once said that “motivation will almost always beat mere talent.” For this reason, motivation is, by far, the most important attribute for a university student. Not everyone, however, is so easily motivated. Some people, including myself, cannot be driven to work extra hard and stay up late cramming because we want to get into Medical School. Sometimes our long range goals just don’t suit our short term needs, like going out with friends, partying at the Pub, or even working a minimum wage job. For people like me, this lack of incentive has an adverse impact on our university studies and is in some cases the sole reason for students’ academic downfall.

Among the many other characteristics students need to excel (for example firm self discipline or proficient time management): superior smarts, a focused social life, and motivation are the most important. From my experience as a student, a lack of above average intelligence requires students to work excessively hard; a lot of the time for just a passing grade. Similarly, students without a good sense of sociality are forced to work by their lonesome, which makes most schoolwork extraordinarily frustrating. Finally, a lack of inspiration prevents students from working to their utmost ability, because if there is nothing to work for than what is the use of working at all?

Some high school students believe that university is another requirement of life, almost an obligation. But I assure you it is not! My advice to students – as a student – is: be sure to carefully consider your post-secondary education. And make certain that university is right for you, especially if you see yourself to be a person like me!

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