Monday, May 9, 2016

Where You Go Does Not Determine Your Worth

With college decision letters freshly out and official commitment day (the dreaded May 1st) behind us, I've noticed some worry, some resentment, and some disappointment. I felt the need to address that.

Where you go does not determine your worth or your future. Where you go is not an indicator of who you are as a person or how smart you are. I have known 4.0s who didn't get into their safeties and 3.0s who have gotten into their reach schools. Is that fair? Nothing is "fair" (whatever that means to you) in the college admissions process. There are millions of students in the United States and only thousands of colleges. There inevitably is going to be a gamble in a game such as the college admissions process.

Here's the thing: yes. There are plenty of successful people who went to Ivy League schools. There are also plenty of successful people who went to the party stereotyped schools such as Chico State University. There are also plenty of successful people who didn't even go to college. We're in a day and age now where the school you go to is much less important than the person you are.

In the fall, I will be transferring from the University of Oregon to Chapman University. You've probably heard of the first school, but unless you know someone who goes to Chapman or are from the area in Southern California, Chapman University probably sounds foreign to you. I have gotten countless of incredulous reactions to me decision to leave University of Oregon. Despite this, I am 100% fully confident in my decision. I am so happy for those who find potential and success at Oregon. I am not one of those people. Though Chapman may be lower on people's radar because our sports teams aren't Division 1 and we don't have Steven Spielberg donating millions of dollars to campus renovations, I know I will thrive there. Maybe job recruiters will have to Google my alma mater, but here's a secret...

Let me tell you who is successful in this world: driven, creative, innovative, and hard working people. People with a little bit of luck and a little bit of talent and a lot a bit of motivation. So you think going to Stanford or Harvard or a number one ranked school is going to have you set for the rest of your life? Sure, you'll probably be able to get a job just based on the school name on your diploma but is that really all you want? A job? Anyone can get a job if they really try.

Let's take a moment to think of the literal hundreds of thousands of people who have gone to an Ivy or Stanford and aren't CEOs or presidents or Supreme Court Justices. Not to say they're failures or didn't achieve anything, because they have much to be proud of, but they prove my point.

My point is that you are who you are. You define your worth. You will take yourself where you are supposed to go. Just as the college admissions process is a gamble, life is a gamble. You may go to Stanford and end up in a regular old nine to five job. You may go to Arizona State University and end up working in The White House or having a top job at a law firm or a corner office at a magazine publication or any number of jobs. People graduate from everyone and end up everywhere. More and more, we live in a world where you can't rest on your laurels and hope that something appears. You have to continuously work hard and prove to people that you are worth it. Because if you're working this hard, you have to be worth it.

A person may go to Cornell but be lazy and unmotivated. This is not what an employer is looking for. Your dreams are not made by the status of your university. Believe in yourself, not in your college decision letters. Your school will not make your success.

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