I took a few observations away from the day. The first, our students are truly extraordinary. All of them. Who they are makes them stand out. As someone who's job is based on trying to help them plan for the future it excites me to let my imagination wonder and think about all the amazing ways these students will impact this world. Even in the short term these students will bring excellent perspective to institutions they decide to join in America. Their presence will challenge their peers to impact this world as well.
My second observation. To these students the concept of selling themselves or being an applicant is extremely foreign. This makes things challenging. I've gone over in my head why this is and why the concepts coming out of my mouth are met with so many confused expressions. I'm still not sure, but I have a few theories. Its possible the culture they've grown up in is very non-competitive. Perhaps these students have never been or needed to be an applicant before and convincing someone they're good enough has never been necessary. Being someone who's had a job since he was 15 it's hard to remember a time when I wasn't in some way trying to sell myself or a product of some sort.
In some ways their ignorance in this area frustrates me. I'm standing here looking out over a sea of remarkable students with undeniable potential. Most speak several languages. Most have grown up in numerous cultures making them extremely adaptable (and marketable). Everything inside me is telling these students to set their sights for the sky, and a number of them are. Some don't seem to be overly concerned. I want to make sure they're aware of how competitive the college admissions game can be and how they need to prepare and become aggressive! So much is at stake! Or is it?
Part of me admirers the attitude these students hold. The whole concept of selling oneself can be ugly. While it is unfortunately a necessary part of survival, its sad to think these students will need to start proving their worth. A process that will start now and continue for the rest of their lives. These students have been taught God accepts them as they are, but unfortunately the world will not.
I do find comfort in the fact that while these young students will soon be entering a more harsh and competitive world the God we serve is still sovereign. He provides for us regardless our ability to "sell ourselves" or in spite of it.