Be Smart About Higher Education: Three Ways to Determine Who You Are

Getting an unidentified phone call the immediate question posed is “Who are you?” The responsible answer to that question is identifying a valid reason to justify staying on the line. When the caller sounds like a scam artist the likely response is to hang up immediately. Why is it then that when another scam artist, the negative self-talk call in people’s minds takes place, the encounter is either entertained or excused as powerless to do anything about it? People who know who they are hang up!

Many students’ negative self-talk calls are crippling when comparisons with others are made, derogatory comments are fretted over, and perfectionism dominates thinking. Being fooled into a helplessness mentality or being deceived by accepting distorted ideas about capabilities doesn’t have to be the case! Being smart about higher education and life are related. Students are far more capable than they think and can face and overcome the tough personal battles needed to become the person they were destined to be.

Trying to understand who you are involves more than a page in this article, but there are three basic ways to get started with the process:

Time tracking

At one point listening to a personal development expert, the challenge was made to meticulously measure my time spent each day in about eight categories. Note that the normal tendency is to grossly underestimate or have no clear recall of time spent during the day. So true!

Measuring in detail I discovered that 18 hours of my week was spent watching TV! That’s more than one day, not counting sleep, per week, 52 days per year, and over a year and a half per decade! A blatant failure to be smart that needed addressed. Higher education requires wisdom, beware of not only TV, but all screen time that is useless and erodes academic performance and rich experiences.

Talents used

“Yea, but I don’t know what my talents are!” Having this dilemma is common, but is never resolved by ignoring the problem. A great college basketball coach Adolph Rupp stated, “Whenever you see a man on top of a mountain you can be sure he didn’t fall there.”

Get help discovering talents by getting feedback from family and friends. Take the feedback and determine the elements that transfer to job skills. Avid readers need to consider being a writer for the school newspaper. Take photos for the yearbook. Churches are always looking for musicians and singers. Enjoyment coaching little kids may build foundational skills that lead to mentoring executives.

Skill is not a big issue when volunteering. Give a fair trial period while getting the feedback of others involved in this activity to assess the value of staying or trying something else. The advantage of all this volunteering is knowing who you are in regard to personal talents makes the choice of a higher education major easier.

Treasure disbursed

Good detectives know to follow the path of money spent to determine motive, location, and habits of criminals that eventually lead to an arrest. Follow the money is a rule to find out who you are. College students going into debt are hoping that the investment into higher education reaps a great return on investment. A number of alternatives exist that can help reduce or eliminate debt.

Being smart about it takes discipline and a lot of hard work especially if parents are only able to help a little or not at all. Debunk myths like going to an Ivy League school is the only way to get a great job. Just not true!

Character development and discovering who you are is a life long process. A lot of information and resources exist to help discover who you are. The bottom line is life always involves time, talent, and treasure. Keep it simple, actions speak louder than words, scholarly journals, psycho-analysts, or Dr. Phil.