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Be Brave and Be Excellent
February 17, 2014 |
To the Host:
Hello there -- we're elderly parents of an only child who will be heading up to a big state university in the fall to study pre-med. I know you went to a b.s.u. also, so I was wondering if you had any words of wisdom for her. I'm a bit nervous about sending her off to such a big school. She wasn't interested in St. Olaf, Concordia or Gustavus.
Your daughter has an ambitious goal in sight and that's a terrific advantage. At a big school, she'll fall in with others of her ilk, young women aiming for a career in medicine, most of them highly motivated and bright and curious, and she won't be held back by the sluggish and inept as she was in high school. And she won't be as encumbered by social life as she might be at a small college. In her pre-med crowd, focused on the sciences, social life and academic life tend to merge. It certainly did for me eons ago hanging out with the literary crowd at the University of Minnesota. My advice to her is to hit the ground running. Make a reading program this summer to get in shape and come to campus determined to dig in and do the work and not coast. She can coast later, if she needs to, but it's important to sprint at the start. So don't go to college with a big flat-screen TV and a case of beer. Embrace the monastic life. Have a great freshman year, followed by a great sophomore year. There will come a time when exhaustion overtakes you and you need to let up for a while. You can weather those times if you've already established credibility. It's all about self-confidence. So be brave and be excellent.