Wednesday, July 20

It's All Good

Today was the big day, right? Several of you came by after the test to report the outcome. Like usual, some of you are likely surprised by scoring higher than you thought you would....and others, maybe are surprised (or a little bummed) about not scoring as well as you would have liked. And so it goes. I'm using my brother's phrase again - it's all good. I do believe that.

I want to commend each of you for working so hard this summer. On your research, on the GRE prep, on getting your stuff ready for grad school. It's sometimes hard to see when you are "in it" but you are all making great progress for your lives. You're figuring out your interests, you are developing your skills and you are creating more options for yourselves for the future. Pretty cool, I would say.

We all know that GRE is part of the grad process, in most cases. We know that not everyone is going to score according to the level that some programs will be looking for. I also think that you have heard enough stories about scholars making it through this hurdle and still getting in and getting funding regardless of their GRE score. My mantra - it's all about the contact and connectivity with folks at programs you want to get into. We're going to makes sure that you all have fantastic (SHAZAAM-style) personal statements, you will all have sparkling letters of recommendation and you all have the advantage of knowing (and having the resources and capability of doing so) that you need to visit your top-choice schools. That's where you are going to make the greatest impression and "nail the deal" - taking the GRE is just part of the process. It isn't going to make or break you. It's part of the process that you deal with and move on.

You are all amazing individuals. We love working with each of you. You all have so much to offer. I want you to know that whatever score you got today - be it great, mediocre or kinda poopy - we're going to continue to support you and work with you and that you will all find a path to the "best fit" for you in terms of your graduate education. Relax some, enjoy the summer weather that is in full swing and then get back to your research.....McNair-style....

Saturday, July 9

"...Give the world the best you have...": A Quote on Forgiveness, Perseverance, Success, and much more

I have always struggled with balancing being myself and being the person others wanted me to be. I admit- I'm a people pleaser. Although I still struggle with this often, the following quote has been crucial in helping me believe that I can be myself and not focus so much on others needs over my own. While being attentive to and aware of others needs is not all bad, I feel that in the long run it is damaging to a person's sense of self-esteem to let other's thoughts and opinions bring you down. Most of all though, this quote inspires me to continue working hard, even if it doesn't seem worth it sometimes. I hope you all will find it helpful as well:

People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered; forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives; be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies; succeed anyway.
If you are honest and frank, people may cheat; be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend hours building, someone could destroy overnight; build anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous; be happy anyway.
The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow; do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have and it may just never be enough; give the world the best you have anyway.
You see, in the final analysis, it's all between you and God; It was never between you and them anyway.
-Mother Theresa

Closing the Gap

First off, will someone please tell 'summer' to slow down! It always goes too fast, doesn't it? Especially when you are a McNair scholar busily working on your research, studying for the GRE and preparing to apply to graduate school. Yikes! That's alot. You are all working hard, yes you are. The SRI is intense, yes, but try to keep your eye to the 'big picture' of things. Keep your eye on your long-term vision of where you see yourself down the line, after you finish up your undergraduate career. The work you are doing right now is helping to define that vision and what your reality will ultimately be.

Think about how proactive you are being and how advantaged you are in terms of realizing your goals. You are developing your interests, exploring really cool programs that you could go to, thinking about how you want to develop your talents as a highly educated person.

The Winner's Circle just ran a nice piece on "closing the gap." Meaning closing the gap between your current reality and the vision you have in mind for your future. I think you might find it to be a good reminder of why you are doing what you are all doing right now.

"Closing the Gap"

How do you close the gap between the reality you are living in now and the life you want for yourself in the future? The life you are living right now is not the one you want to live. You could do and be so much more, and you know this. However, somehow things just never seem to change much for you.

Does this sound familiar? Are you or someone you are close to trapped in a life you don’t want, feeling stuck and unable to move? Let me make a suggestion. Why don’t you try imagining the future you want for yourself? Imagine it so vividly and specifically that you can actually see it. Then, take it even further. Hear it, taste it, feel it, walk around in it! Make it like a movie, starring you.

When you come back to reality, of course, you will be aware of a gap between where you are now and where you want to be – but that’s good! You see, it is this gap that releases your energy and creativity. Did you know that automobiles only move because they have a gap in the spark plug? There has to be room – a space – for the spark to ignite.

For us humans, that gap, between the way things are and the way we want them to be, is that space where our drive, energy and creativity have room to ignite. And the drive and energy are what is required to close the gap. Without a vision, a vivid picture of the future in the mind, there is no gap, and you will never discover your own power.

Try creating a vision, then work at strengthening it every day, and see what happens.

Lou Tice, The Pacific Institute