Saturday, April 14, 2007

Dedication: Screw the naysayers

There is a unique way of thinking that dedicated people have. In the same vein, there is an all too common way of thinking that undedicated people have. Here are some things I've heard over the past month on the topic of studying:
  • No one needs to study for a week for an exam.
  • I don't want to over-study the material.
  • Don't be such a lame-ass, finish that essay tomorrow, drink with us now.
... and the list goes on and on.

Those who are dedicated to achieving high marks and accomplishing their goals are very focused on what they want, and will not allow obstacles to get in their way. They understand that a single-minded dedication, focus, even obsession is required to get what they want.

Frankly, it may seem "lame" or "weird" to those on the outside looking in. Yet if you want to truly excel, then the opinions of other people should not matter. What makes them such experts anyhow? Are they performing superbly in the area you want toconquer? I doubt it.

I know you are a very intelligent person. I know that you want to improve yourself in a number of different ways. So if you were to let the transient thoughts of people get in the way of that improvement, you would be doing a great disservice to yourself.

Since you are in control of your mind and your faculties, you should be the judge of what is or is not appropriate to do.

As we are in the exam season, many of us want to do well on our exams. What are you prepared to do about it?

I got this joke from one of my friends, it highlights this in a funny way:
A student comes to a young professor's office hours. She glances down the hall, closes his door, and kneels pleadingly. "I would do anything to pass this exam."

She leans closer to him, flips back her hair, gazes meaningfully into his eyes. "I mean," she whispers, "I would do anything."

He returns her gaze. "Anything?"


His voice turns to a whisper. "Would"
Study?! What kind of punchline is that?

The best kind of punchline. It is the crucial ingredient people seem to forget. We don't need insane strategies, we don't need lucky shoes, we don't need to update our facebook/MSN messenger status. What we need is content in our brains! We need to study.

For the most part, I try to keep these posts light-hearted, but sometimes we all need a kick in the ass.

To address the quotes at the beginning of this post:
  • A week is too long to study? If you don't feel prepared after 3 days of studying that's probably because you need more time. Only you know how much time you require to cover your material well? Although you don't want to fall prey to Parkinson's Law (it states that "work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion"), the more time you study, the more information you'll get into your brain.
  • In a similar way, while it is possible to over-study, for the most part you are going to have to study A LOT A LOT to get to that point. I think it's funny that people worry about getting too bulky or big from going to the gym, without even lifting a pound. In the same way that you'll notice that your triceps are getting bigger, you'll notice that you are starting toover-analyse your studies. Even if you start to over-analyse, you'll be in a far better position than before opening your books.
  • Successful people understand that there is a time for play, and a time for work. While it is popular to be the guy or gal that's always ready to party, it doesn't always work out. Understanding that sometimes we have to be uncomfortable to get what we want is crucial to personal and academic growth.
The bottom line: Stay focused, even obsessed with your goals. Don't let naysayers distract you. While dedication is not always the most popular option, it is one of the wisest.

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At 3:31 AM, Blogger Joshua Hwang said...

As a side note, I'd like to point out the time of this post.

This is the sort of thinking that keeps me awake at night.


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