Images from Pixabay
Watching Ashton Eaton win the gold medal in the Decathlon at Rio's 2016 Olympics, I couldn't help but wonder how he is able to perform at such a high level in so many different Olympic events.
“To become a master of 10 different disciplines takes, well, a mountain of well-orchestrated ability.”
After reading about his training regiment, I could see that well-orchestrated ability means training to maximize your muscles and techniques to perform the best at any given sport.
“I see something, a technique, and [I ask] why is it that way … and if it’s been that way for 100 years, why has it been that way for 100 years?”
Images from Pixabay
By: Sean Massa
“Failure is part of the process of success. People who avoid failure also avoid success.” - Robert T. Kiyosaki
There is are two important lessons that no one ever taught me. They are things that I have learned from my lowest points as a student, and things that I continue to learn to this day. They are common sense, but hard to really identify with. Quite simply, the hardest lessons I have had to learn in my academic career are this:
1) Failure is inevitable.
2) You are not your failures.
In high school, I had been satisfied with my academic accomplishments. With an above average GPA and AP courses already under my belt, I felt secure in my identity - I was a good student. However when I went to college, my whole understanding of personal academic achievement had changed.
Upon arriving, I was no longer a big fish in a little pond: I was a big fish swimming in an ocean of big fish. Many nights I stayed awake studying for hours and hours, only to receive a B or C- at the end of the day. I remember being crying to my family during Christmas holiday when final grades were released. All those nights studying - were they for nothing? When I tried finding opportunities to do research my first year, I also had no luck. I applied to over 20 different labs and received no word back. Was I doing something wrong? What was wrong with me?
After my freshman year, I slowly began to regain some confidence as I adjusted to the higher course rigor. Yet, even for years following I continued to internalize my academic feedback in a personal way. It was a mindset that made me sensitive to any criticism. In work, with family, in school - any critique of my efforts became a critique of myself.
What I have come to learn is that it doesn't have to be that way. From school and work experiences, I now know that failure is something you can't avoid. At some point, you will mess up. But that's okay. Here are a number of important points that I honestly think every student needs to know:
What failure does not mean:
What does failure mean:
Some of my friends have been circulating a photo on Facebook lately that talks about the struggles of some famous people in their young age: “At 23, JK Rowling was broke, Tina Fey was working at the YMCA, Oprah had just been fired as a TV reporter, And Walt Disney had declared bankruptcy, It's going to be okay.” If it worked out for them, it can work out for you and me. The path to success is never linear. In fact, I think it's more like a rollercoaster, but one that we design going progressively upward.
Failure is going to happen. There will be expectations to perform a certain way, whether made by yourself or others, and you will not meet those expectations. Failure is never the end. It is only the beginning of a longer process of personal growth and development. So don't take it personally. Continue to seek out your strengths and passions whatever they may be. Learn from the experience, and move on knowing that things can only improve. Upward and onward.
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From the university's $10.1 billion endowment, Penn students benefit from an impressive pool of academic and institutional resources. According to Forbes, Penn has minted the most billionaire alumni in the nation. After four long years, Penn graduates also join one of the most powerful alumni networks that includes Warren Buffet, John Legend, Donald Trump, John Huntsman Jr., Sharon Stone, Mehment (Dr.) Oz, Andrea Mitchell, and more recently Naomi Biden (granddaughter to Vice President Joe Biden) and Tiffany Trump (daughter of Donald Trump). But is the University of Pennsylvania right for you?
Penn academic departments consistently rank in the top of their fields for business, nursing, communications, education, engineering, and medicine among others. Incoming undergraduates apply directly to one of the four schools that best fits their interests and academic goals: College of Arts and Sciences, Wharton School of Business, School of Engineering and Applied Science, or the School of Nursing. For students interested in cross-disciplinary studies, Penn offer curricular flexibility across the four schools and includes a number of dual degree programs.
As one of the oldest American universities, Penn has kept a number of traditions alive. From its unique Pennsylvania state history, the university adopted the oxymoronic “Fighting Quaker” as its official sport's mascot. During football games, Penn students throw a big toast to dear old Penn - literally. From all directions, students toss thousands of pieces of toasted bread into the air and towards the field from the bleachers. A more recent tradition that takes place in the spring is the Penn Spring Fling, which has brought artists to campus including Ke$ha, Kygo, and David Guetta to name a few. Penn students even have a right-of-passage from the junior-to-senior transition. During Hey Day, a day long celebrations filled with bright red shirts, top hats and canes, students parade down the Locust Walk with their classmates to College Green, where the university president officials bestows the senior title to them. Throughout a student's four-year stay at Penn, these are only a glimpse of the many rich traditions that thousands of students have participated in over hundreds of class generations. The Penn traditions continue.
Just as Ben Franklin was known for his interests in many subjects, so Penn provides its students with multidisciplinary opportunities to make the most of their education. For those interested in integrating useful business skills in other sectors, Penn'c College of Arts and Sciences offers a number of dual degree programs: The Huntsman Program in International Studies and Business, Life Sciences and Management, and Technology and Management. Additionally, undergraduate students can take advantage of course offerings from any of the four schools, including some of the best business, engineering and nursing programs in the country.
For students who want to be on the forefront of emerging fields, Penn provides generous programming and resources for their intellectual and professional development. Penn's newest Networked and Social Systems Engineering program is the world’s first program to fully integrate the disciplines needed to design and analyze the complex social networks. Students in the program study the interplay of computer science, economics, and sociology while participating in cutting-edge research in networks, markets, optimization, and information management. Additional programs include the Vagelos Program in Energy Research and a program focusing on Artificial Intelligence through the School of Engineering. For graduating seniors, Penn offers a unique chance for students to apply their education with real-world application through the President's Engagement and Innovation Prizes, both providing winner with up to $150,000.
One thing is certain - the University of Pennsylvania through its bountiful resources invests in the academic and intellectual success of its students during their four years as undergraduates and beyond. To learn more about other colleges and universities, stayed tuned for more College Crash Course articles on the Hillview Blog!
By: Sean Massa
At some point in my young life I knew I wanted to be a doctor. Then I wanted to be an orca whale trainer at Sea World. Then I wanted to be a marine biologist. Then I wanted to be a doctor again. At some point in this progression of constant change my parents decided to support that dream of mine. Showing me a kindergarten drawing of a doctor I apparently drew from a paper prompt stating “What I want to be when I grow up,” I soon began to take on this narrative as my own - that I was going to someday be a medical doctor.
While in middle school, I showcased my quantitative strengths in taking advanced math classes. In high school, I studied extra hard for the AP Biology, Environmental Science, and Calculus exams. It paid off with perfect 5 exams on all of them.
When I applied to college, I wrote my personal statement about how I wanted to study neuroscience and become a neurologist or neurosurgeon. This same essay paved my entry into an elite Ivy League university. Yet, after I started my studies something strange happened to this narrative. Quite simply, I began to doubt it.
In college, I realized that my heart actually belonged to the social sciences. Don't get me wrong. I loved taking my natural science courses. Even today, I can recount to any random person the beautiful intricacies of neurotransmitters, explain how trophic pyramids show why we should become vegetarians, and point easily to my sternocleidomastoid muscle (it's in your neck). Though I studied health, I enjoyed more learning about how it was influenced by culture, politics, and religion. I was not as much interested in studying not the human body as I was the human condition. At some point during my junior year, I took the leap to follow this unknown path. I was unsure if I wanted to be a doctor, or whether my parents wanted me to be one, or both.The linear narrative that gave me comfort, security, and direction became unraveled and unwritten.
Embracing unfamiliar passions and letting go of a defined professional narrative is possibly the most difficult thing I've ever had to do. However, it has also been the most rewarding. My health studies led me to an interest in international affairs which led me to where I am currently, working with an internship with the United Nations. Even so, I find that every so often my mind changes about what I'm interested in, what kind of job I want to have, and what I think makes me happy. And that's completely okay. From embracing this uncertainty, I've come to learn a number of important life lessons:
1) It's okay to not have everything perfectly planned out.
Life is dynamic. Our situations change, and so do we. I am not saying that you shouldn't have any goals or visions at all for your future. What I am saying is that these goals you make for yourself should have a degree of flexibility and practicality. Give yourself options and opportunity.
2) You will not be the same person in 5 years that you are today.
When I asked my graduate student friend whether it would be a good idea to pursue a Ph.D., she asked me a simple question: “Do you have the same interests you had 5 years ago? Are you the same person you were 5 years ago?” Obviously, I said no. So much had changed during the formative years of high school and college. I was learning more about my place in the world and how I sought out my own happiness and wellbeing. Though her question was not meant to deter me from pursuing a Ph.D. (I still consider it from time-to-time), I am grateful for how it opened my eyes to see one thing - that so much can change in a short of amount of time. This change is inevitable, so take notice, adapt, and embrace it!
3) Be mindful about how you are changing as a person.
Some people go through life chasing the same dreams. Sometimes, this becomes a story of perseverance. Sometimes, this leads people to chase after things that truly do not make them happy. Always be mindful as you pursue your passions: what do you like now? what did you like before? what has changed? are you doing what makes you happy? if not, why not? It may sometimes take the hard questions, but if you ask them honestly you will gain greater insight into your own strengths and transitions. These are the questions that are good to ask yourself now as a student, later as a professional, and for whatever lies ahead.
Want to learn more education insights from our staff? Check out our other blogs, and learn more about the varied experiences of the Hillview Prep team here. Together, we can work together to make your college dreams into a reality.
The Harker School is an elite Bay Area academic powerhouse with an impressive record not short of any accolades. Ranked the 6th best private school in California, Harker's high school, known as the Upper School, has cultivated some of the best and brightest young minds from the South Bay. But is the Harker School right for your high school student? Here are a few fast facts to consider:
World Record AP Scores
Harker students have scored some of the highest AP exam scores in the country. This past spring, the College Board reported that Vedaad Shakib, grade 11, and Sahana Srinivasan, grade 10, were two of just 67 students nationwide to earn a top score on the computer science exam. Likewise Janet Lee, grade 12, was one of 54 students to do the same in microeconomics, a particularly strong subject in the Harker curriculum. The San Jose Mercury News reported in 2013 that 11 out of 11 Harker AP Microeconomics students scored a perfect 5 on the exam, being the only school in the world to do so. Not bad at all.
Hard to Beat SAT Scores
In 2014, the Huffington Post reported that Harker students received the second highest SAT scores in the country with an average score of 2210. The most recent Harker average in 2016 brought the score to 2220 with section scores of 740 in all three Writing, Reading and Math sections. Considering the national average SAT score is 1700, it is noteworthy that Harker students are scoring at least 500 points higher than any given peer within the United States.
A Priceless Education
Academic excellence does not come cheap. Sending your student to Harker for high school will cost you a whopping $43,693 per year. When you graduate you a Harker student, your high school diploma is a piece of paper close to $175,000 in worth. If you can afford the pricetag, your student not only gains a world-class education but also becomes part of a network of some of the nation's brightest young intellectuals of the upcoming generation.
While your student will find typical extracurriculars like sports and speech-and-debate, a number of unique extracurricular opportunities await outside of class at Harker. Emphasizing access to a global education, Harker students can take part in a number of student exchanges with partners in Australia, Japan, India and Switzerland. Harker prepares its students to take advantage of all Silicon Valley has to offer through its Business and Entrepreneurship programming. In harnessing the passions of all its students, Harker also offers research opportunities for its upper school students in subjects covering the sciences, the humanities, and countless others. All in all, there truly is something for everyone to pursue after class hours end at Harker.
Where are they now?
Curious to see where Harker students are going? Well, you actually can! Data from the class of 2013, 2014 and 2015 reveals that not just a few but many students got into the most competitive universities in the country including Stanford (44), Harvard (16), MIT (31), Columbia (30), UPenn (28), Duke (40), and Cornell (61) to name a few. Some universities accepting the highest number of Harker students include Carnegie Mellon (86), Berkeley (173), USC (162), NYU (74), University of Washington (88), and UCSD (201). The stats don't lie: Harker students are really going places with their education.
Want to know more about getting your student into Harker? Contact the Hillview Prep team today to schedule a consultation for your student at email@example.com
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Here at Hillview, we know the A-to-Z's of high school admissions. We personally tailor a plan to your middle school student and work with them to achieve their best grades in school and for the HSPT, ISEE, and SSAT high school admission tests. To learn more about the various high school options your student has for their bright future, contact us today at firstname.lastname@example.org.
P.S. Make sure to stay tuned for upcoming blog posts highlighting local high school profiles!
As a freshman, it sounded like an overused business-y word that people used to make fake relationships with other people. It wasn't something I really wanted to do. Over time, I found that that was not true at all. I learned that everyone creates and shapes the kind of networks they have.