[DAY 53] About Elite Schools

The one ridiculous thing that has been on my mind lately: world’s top leaders (Bill Gates, Melinda Gates, Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, Sheryl Sandberg, Warren Buffet, Donald Trump, Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, Jeff Bezos, Phil Knight, Peter Thiel, etc., etc., etc.) went to and/or graduated from prestigious colleges such as Harvard University, Stanford University, and University of Pennsylvania, and then they whisper to the ears of everyone else that a college degree doesn’t matter or is not at all worth its cost. I mean, I understand their intention, but, these people, their voices are so loud that it raised doubts among the rest that if you haven’t got there (to these schools) yet, you hardly get anywhere in life. That is not true, just like many other false messages sent around the world. Yet, that doesn’t mean we ever stop listening to those voices. I agree with these people that in the end, it is not the number of books you have read or grades you have earned that defines you, but how you discipline yourself to be competent in the fields you choose. Reading about these people, I admit that I have this dream of studying at a place whose name everyone looks up to. But I also believe that these world-class individuals are hard-workers and visionary leaders, and they probably don’t wish to convince others to get a degree from an elite education. I think the denominator of their unique personalities is that they have a dream for a better society, and they stick to that dream, no matter how much it takes. Knowing them and the challenges they had faced and overcome encourages me to work hard for the greater good. Though, what my mission is, I have not yet found.




I personally got to know a lady during my second year in America. She’s a grandma, but she has all the energy in the world. We met frequently, and she always offered great insights. Moreover, I never once felt looked down on because of my age but felt treated with care and support. She had done a lot that I admire: a teacher in China for 14 years, a faithful believer of God, and a very, very knowledgeable person. She encouraged her daughters to go to Western Washington University, which is a small school in Bellingham. She advised me to finish my degree instead of taking a gap year with valid reasons, although that advice I refused to take. We were on good terms and that was all that mattered. When I saw a letter sent to her door, I tried to hide my surprise upon the Harvard’s logo. It never occurred to me that she went to Harvard and her husband went to MIT. It turns out that this is one among many lives graduated from Harvard that didn’t get on the news and didn’t get all the attention in the world, yet, in a sense, still made a difference.

In conclusion, my stand is that where I go to school matters very little (from a high-school and some-college graduate). In fact, I never care so much about a degree, since I absolutely despite the traditional education in any culture. However, I envy the community that these schools provide: the students seem so enthusiastic about what they can do in life and how they can contribute to the world. Even at a community college, I had countless chances to meet people who have so much for me to look up to. My only fear when I deferred my enrollment was that I wouldn’t get to meet these diverse groups of people, but in the end what practical skills and experience I have will raise me to the level of senior competent. And I want to aim for that.

Published by Thi Le


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