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Driving too slow

I went to a grad school workshop today (not inspiring). And then I read this from Joel Spolsky, posted a week and a half ago on Joel on Software. The combination of the two is pretty bad.

You see, if you canít whiz through the easy stuff at 100 m.p.h., youíre never gonna get the advanced stuff.

I think what JS is saying applies to a lot more than writing code, getting an A in Calculus, trading bonds, or getting hired. I read this as JS believes that people who work too hard at the basics are in the wrong field. I’m not sure where exactly the basics end and the advanced work begins in the Humanities and Social Sciences, but I know I’m working way too hard. JS’s words are plenty helpful for the person hiring, or the person who is an ace applicant, but for the rest of us? For those of us who didn’t get A+ in our last 20 undergrad courses?

The speaker at the workshop kept going over how important it is to reapply if at first rejected: from funding, from schools, etc. That if it’s where you really want to be you’ll get it eventually, through tweaking your materials, focusing or shifting a research interest, by finding a more appropriate advisor. But I wonder, how many years can a person can keep going through it? I mean, don’t we all have student loans that have to be paid back? We can’t just keep reapplying to grad school, hoping we’ll get in sooner or later…

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