Dragon vs. Frog
Recently, a few undergraduate students come to me and request for recommendation letters to apply for graduate programs.
It is a great pleasure and honor to help students having my humble letters. And I asked a fundamental question: "What is your purpose of going to graduate school?".
Students commonly answered:
Because I want to get a better job!
Because I want to experience foreign life!
Because my Mom and Dad want me to go to graduate school!
Because I have good GPA, TOEFL, GRE/GMAT scores.
Then, I changed my question: "What problem do you want to solve for us by using your knowledge from the graduate program?"
Students are puzzled because they think they must come back home to get a good job and serve for their parent. Absolutely, that is OK. But that cannot be a reason to study at a graduate program because the purpose of graduate study is not to train the future workers but questioners, problem-solvers, and leaders.
[Zootopia: July Hopps's Family Talk about Judy's career];
Many Asian students are bounded by a certain strong social pressure. This is the reason why Asian students work hard: to get a better job; to build a good and stable life.
But what if these Kids have a great potential that can lead us to a better world through their creative and constructive problem-solving actions? Is the mediocre expectation from parents and society appropriate?
I wish my students can search for a tough problem that must be addressed by the young talent. And I wish my students would not afraid to listen and follow their own callings from the tough problem.
Because I can sense that many of our kids are dragons, not frogs.
Dragons, please rise and fly high to help people!
Jeonghwan (Jerry) Choi, PhD, MBA, ME
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