According to the admissions site of MIT:
“Some applicants struggle to turn themselves into clones of the “ideal” MIT student—you know, the one who gets triple 800s on the SAT. Fortunately, cloning is still for sheep. What we really want to see on your application is you being you—pursuing the things you love, growing, changing, taking risks, learning from your mistakes, all in your own distinctive way. College is not a costume party; you’re not supposed to come dressed as someone else. Instead, college is an intense, irreplaceable four-year opportunity to become more yourself than you’ve ever been. What you need to show us is that you’re ready to try.”
This justifies me constantly talking about the YOU. It may have seemed repetitive and even boring, but there is a strong reasoning there – I wanted to warn you against the consequences of cloning. Till we do not make time to discover ourselves, we will be attempting to be someone who we may not necessary be. Just because it is right for someone, does that make it right for YOU? Probably not! If you apply it to yourself in an objective manner you may find the MISFITS. This is true for a college, and even life in general. You cannot be a clone of someone and expect to succeed. If I talk about the education side, you would be surprised to know that each of the high ranked colleges talk about the Right Fit. The admission officers are usually looking at an application to see how the applicant fits in the university and in addition also how the university/college fits with YOU, your goals and your aspiration.
How do we discover ourselves and NOT turn into a clone? This is the precious question all of you should be asking before you embark on your journey of finding your educational path.
There are no set rules for this. There is, unfortunately no book that you can mug up and arrive at an answer. Neither is there a person who can tell you with certainty as to who you are. Your parents, friends, family and even your teachers all hold some pieces that can help you put the jigsaw together, but you, my dear student, have to make the effort.
How would YOU begin?
Discovering oneself certainly does not require you to be off to the Himalayas, although, where I am sitting right now it does sound like an excellent plan. However,If that is not an option, you can start with little steps.
Know your Skill Set.
Each of you has a set of skills, know-how, knowledge, interests etc. Each of this together form your skill set. The skill set of a person is essentially what sets them apart from another.Let me take this one step further to understand the importance. Every profession require a certain skill set.
So to say – a musician needs at the very least, an in-depth knowledge of Music – Vocal and instrumental. A musician would benefit if he/she knows more than one language (if you are a music composer in India you would benefit knowing regional languages).Must understand music production, the technology know-how. You should have the knowledge of history of Music and the instruments. Should have good Communication Skill, and strangely enough Theatre association (look at all the reality show judges). The list can be very long, but it is important to identify these. If you aspire to be a musician, you should know the skills required to become one. The Degree pursued at undergrad level and post grad level also forms part of this skill set.
Now analyse your skills you HAVE. You may already be studying music for last many years. You have already done a lot of theatre. But you may not be good at communication Skills. you still have to pursue a relevant college undergraduate and a postgraduate degree, so on and so forth.
Once you know the skill you NEED and the skills you HAVE you can arrive at, this is very important, THE SKILL GAP.
SKILLS I NEED (to be a musician) – SKILLS I HAVE (at present) = THE SKILL GAP
If you can find this skill gap then identifying your next step would become considerably easy. It will also help you identify a possible route to take. Analysing Skill gap also means that you can identify the amount of effort that you need to put in to become, say a musician.
How to read and analyse your Skill Gap is not a difficult task, try some for different professions and let me know if it helped you arrive at some answers or even better, if it helped you raise some questions. Questions about yourself is good to raise so long as you are agreeable to find answers and are willing to look at possibilities even if somewhat unusual.