What’s your “why”?

Posted on November 27th, 2019 to College Admission by

The the only part of the national narrative about education that seems to be heard is “go to college”. It’s unfortunate that, for whatever reason, the larger theme of being a life long learner is missed. It’s true that Read’s Corner is focused on supporting students and families in pursuing post-secondary education by attending and graduating from a 4-year institution, but there are other options. Regardless of the option you choose, what is even more important is understanding why you want to pursue that particular path.

Start With Why, Simon Sinek

Simon Sinek, according to his Wikipedia page, is “a British-American author, motivational speaker and organizational consultant. He is the author of five books, including Start With Why.”

Sinek challenges us to think on a deeper and more critical level about our life’s purpose. I often refer to it as one’s personal mission statement. Why is it important? Well, it helps us maintain our compass point north; it’s our North Star; it’s how we ensure we are going where we want in life. It helps us keep the extrinsic forces at bay–those well meaning voices influencing us to do things that don’t make us happy.

So…What’s Your Why?

I often ask students why they want to go to college and frequently hear generic answers. Underneath it all, I hear expressions of “because I am supposed to.” When considering post-secondary plans, it is important that students answer this question for themselves — though they will likely need some help. This is big think…so big that many adults shy away from it. It can feel scary to reflect on our lives because it requires some vulnerability. While the journey is scary, I promise the end result is rewarding and joyful.

I agree we all should be life-long learners, that doesn’t necessarily require college. It certainly can, and as you might guess I am a fan of higher education being a useful pathway towards success. If you want to be the best plumber, then spend time in technical school and find a great apprenticeship. If you want to rid the world of disease, then go to college and the appropriate graduate school. Do what makes you happy and you feel is your purpose.

My point is, find your “why” then use it to define what your future will entail. Let it help you personalize your definition of success.

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