- November 9th, 2013
While reading "Teach Your Children Well" by Madeline Levine, I started thinking about why I studied so hard in school.
One thing is certain--it wasn't my parents driving me. I have never been tutored, but I have tutored others for countless number of hours. My parents have no idea what classes I took in high school and what grades I got. I worked hard because I wanted to win. Academics was a game, and I was going to win at any cost.
And I did win. I got straight A's in high school, and I still remember my final GPA after four years at UCLA: 3.98 I started to strike a balance in college, because I had my share of fun. I had one of the best times of my life at UCLA. At the same time, I remember how distraught I felt when I got my only B in college. In retrospect, it would not have mattered at all. At the time, I felt that my perfect record of A's through college was shattered.
I toiled through medical school, not because it was challenging (it was). I only made it harder for myself because I had to be the top of my class again. I put so much pressure on myself. I guess it did get me a comfortable life, but I was a mess going through those years. It didn't have to be that way. I would have become a doctor just the same, but my overwhelming need to "win" at all cost put tremendous pressure on me.
I hope to instill a different type of spirit for my son. While I love learning, I did not have to treat my academic career as a rat race. I want my son to love learning and learn for the sake of learning. The joy in acquiring new knowledge and skill is something we already share, and I am going to foster that spirit further.