I’m a B average student in college. I went to USC which is decent but not an Ivy-League school that my parents hoped that I would attend. I also grew up in a highly competitive high school where there was a high percentage of Asian minorities. In college, though I barely passed my Physics class and upper math courses, I spent my time doing code competitions and business case challenges (do they still have those?). To my chagrin, I never took my GE courses seriously and often scored a B average for not doing homework assignments or missing classes for participation points – somehow, my computer projects were more interesting or important to me.
I think at some point in your life, you realize that the grades are not indicative of your future success. Fortunately, I had pretty lenient parents; they’ve either given up on me or resigned to the fact that they are happy that I’m not doing drugs or binge drinking on the weekends.
In spite of that, you certainly wear a chip on your shoulder. Especially during family times around holidays and social parties with your parents’ friends or associates where they are talking about how their son or daughter came home from MIT, Harvard, or Stanford or got some distinction award from the President (of the United States). I’ve also been “confronted” by my parents why I’m not working as hard as “so and so” who got the 1600 SAT or why I spent so much time “playing games on the computer.” It does make you feel either humbled and a little sheepish around some friends, or more rebellious and “don’t give an F” attitude.
When you’re not #1, you learn to keep trying and focusing on the things that you are good at – since you have to hang onto the things that you have a shot at being good. For me, that was doing things outside of the classroom and I think I’m better for it today.
I’m still thankful for my parents for continually pushing me forward and focusing on my work ethics. Yes, I’m even grateful for them for forcing me for the ninth year to play the piano when I’d rather play baseball. I can now appreciate music at a theory level and enjoy the experience much deeper. I love my parents and understood their intent now that I’m much older – I’m probably going to be the same way to my offsprings in the future.
To this day, I’m still amazed and now appreciate those top 10% of people who can read a book and set the curve on test or crank out some coding algorithm with the calculus or economics gaussian theory that I have now forgotten. Or, the folks who can apply themselves for four years and get the different color tassel at the graduation ceremony.
To those people, please email me – I’m hiring.