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Welcome! Let’s Exchange Ideas

Tell me about yourself! No, it is not a job interview. I will not bother you asking when is the last time you made a mistake, and wait to listen your answer in the S.T.A.R. (situation, task, action, result) format. I am concerned about how I can help you out in your current situation, or to guide you to reach in your dream spot. You might be wondering, why a stranger would be interested to help me? Because, in this small world, we are all strangers. Remember the best novel you ever read, when you though that you know about a specific character already, but at the end of the book you found a great surprise! Our life is full of illusions and disillusions. Unless, we talk with other, we feel like lost in a crowd of our own imaginary ideas echoing in our head.

Speak Up! Universal Graduate Income is listening. Be brave to tell what is your dream. Even if you fail to shoot for the star, you will land on the moon. Congratulations!

Feel free to contact about your career plans. I hopped a lot and have matured enough at least listen to you unlike others. You will be valued no matter where you come from.

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My First Blog Post

PhD Graduate School Hack I: Genesis

Be yourself; Everyone else is already taken.

— Oscar Wilde.

Welcome to the new world of graduate school. You must be excited to be at school. In other years, it would be nice schools and smell of good food in a new restaurant. But under the Corona it is a different story. You are wondering how to get through this time. You are not alone. But having 7 years of grad school experience, I can cope up with Corona pretty well. So, welcome to the club.

Counterexample: College Makes Someone Successful Alone?

While studying a famous theology book titled What’s Divine about Divine Law? Early Perspectives, written by Prof. Christine Hayes, I ended up with an interesting Google search result. At Yale, they interviewed couples, like the author and her husband, who were tenured Professors to find out how their profession is impacting their family lives. In one case, one couple from the philosophy department found that one of the first words of their child learned was counterexample. I decided to add this anecdote purposefully in discussing the college admission.

Widespread college admission scandals in 2019, including the involvement of few Hollywood celebrities, shocked the nation and tainted the reputation of Yale, Georgetown, Stanford, UCLA, and USC admission processes. The underlying question is – why someone is willing to pay a bribe of $400K to over $1M just for a college seat. Well, that’s how we are engineered to think about colleges. While these are overtly criminal acts, there are also many subtle ways to push through family connections, collaborations, and donations in the elite institutes that we often hear. But there are far more seats available for legitimate admissions. So, there is no practical reason to feel tensed here.

photo of family sitting on floor while reading book
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

In America, the college admission has turned into basically fulfilling some checkmarks underestimating the noble goal of enlightening the hearts and minds of the students regardless of their backgrounds. Elite colleges often have students from expensive private schools with a similar mindset ignoring the broader social diversity, and ultimately creating a modern-day caste system in America by celebrating the obsession of exclusivity. The graduates are often untouched by the everyday struggle of the ordinary citizens. Andrew Yang cited in one of his podcasts from a study that 80% of the graduates from the IVY leagues end up in the six major fields such as finance in Wall Street, tech in Silicon Valley, law firms, management consulting, and two others which are neither innovative nor unique. So, the whole argument that elite colleges make someone exceptional fails badly, because they are just following the trends instead of creating new ones. The reason top institutes get so much press is because of their research work by professors and PhD students, creating intellectual property and global collaboration; but not for training the undergrads.

You can think of big universities like Facebook, a platform that gives the freedom to the researchers and professors to create their groups, invite friends and colleagues, and bring grants while the university administration moderates the finance and management. Many classes in undergrads are taken by teaching assistants and adjunct professors, which are not inherently bad, but a deception in the brochures and admission materials. Moreover, the research divisions of the industry and government labs are full of people from diverse college experiences defying college ranking. It is also important to note that LinkedIn data-based research also showed that top companies are no longer buying certain college brand names alone.

children having their exam
Photo by Arthur Krijgsman on Pexels.com

What parents often forget that they are sending 16-18 years old kids to a new environment. Based on the personality and circumstances, college experiences can be wildly different in the same school. It is nearly impossible to predict someone’s success from a specific college name. Bill Gates, Michael Dell, Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs were famous dropouts. Few years ago, PayPal cofounder Peter Thiel created a $100K fellowship for young people to drop out of college and start working in Silicon Valley to pursue their dreams. Colleges are indeed efficient to cluster the talents in their campuses. However, unless there are intrinsic values already embedded in the person, it is unlikely that college alone will transform the person. I have a close friend who dropped out of the PhD programs in the second semester, got too busy with her own projects, and started working in the Bay area earning more than many university professors. I don’t know what her first few words were, but her dad was a world-famous physicist in a top university and trained her very well from her childhood. The things people learn from their families have a far-reaching impact than attending certain colleges. By that time, it is too late to change the trajectory for most of the people. Therefore, low-income families have an inherent disadvantage to plan properly. Moreover, the immigrants also often suffer from the cultural barriers and lack of awareness to realize how the system works in this country, how to groom their kids to make them competitive, and what resources are available for them. Often, they bet on the college admission alone forgetting the alternative resources. These are the reasons I have started this website so that everyone gets an opportunity to plan which might not be available in the schools they are attending.

The theme of the book I mentioned earlier centers around to prove that there is not a single framework of explanation to describe the divine laws even within the community who nurture it in contrast to the simplified version embedded in our ordinary unconscious minds. For college names, it is also a multidimensional story. There is no short answer to find the role of a college upon someone without knowing the person carefully. Parents often invest in summer camps and advanced programs but forget the kids might need evaluation before attending a college in a better way.

Interestingly, University names matter only for certain cases, which I will term as Counterexamples. I will write about that soon. Stay tuned.  

Introduce Yourself (Example Post)

This is an example post, originally published as part of Blogging University. Enroll in one of our ten programs, and start your blog right.

You’re going to publish a post today. Don’t worry about how your blog looks. Don’t worry if you haven’t given it a name yet, or you’re feeling overwhelmed. Just click the “New Post” button, and tell us why you’re here.

Why do this?

  • Because it gives new readers context. What are you about? Why should they read your blog?
  • Because it will help you focus you own ideas about your blog and what you’d like to do with it.

The post can be short or long, a personal intro to your life or a bloggy mission statement, a manifesto for the future or a simple outline of your the types of things you hope to publish.

To help you get started, here are a few questions:

  • Why are you blogging publicly, rather than keeping a personal journal?
  • What topics do you think you’ll write about?
  • Who would you love to connect with via your blog?
  • If you blog successfully throughout the next year, what would you hope to have accomplished?

You’re not locked into any of this; one of the wonderful things about blogs is how they constantly evolve as we learn, grow, and interact with one another — but it’s good to know where and why you started, and articulating your goals may just give you a few other post ideas.

Can’t think how to get started? Just write the first thing that pops into your head. Anne Lamott, author of a book on writing we love, says that you need to give yourself permission to write a “crappy first draft”. Anne makes a great point — just start writing, and worry about editing it later.

When you’re ready to publish, give your post three to five tags that describe your blog’s focus — writing, photography, fiction, parenting, food, cars, movies, sports, whatever. These tags will help others who care about your topics find you in the Reader. Make sure one of the tags is “zerotohero,” so other new bloggers can find you, too.