Beware of unmet expectations

The root cause of the financial crisis was purely human factor. This human factor is the completely false sense of omnipotence, self-importance and entitlement among the country’s elite, as well as the nurturing of these beliefs at Ivy League colleges and other elite universities the US will be doomed to suffer other calamities every bit the equal of the financial crisis.

Larry Summers, former Secretary of the Treasury, as quoted in Dave Collum’s 2019 Year in Review, December 20, 2019

And, if anyone is qualified to discuss the “entitlement” and “false sense of omnipotence” of Ivy Leaguers, Mr. Summers, Harvard president from 2001 to 2006, is more than qualified. Full disclosure, I too am a Harvard alumna, having myself sought the allure of Ivy League prestige. 

That said, every year, I empathize with and equally query clients who seek entry to the prestigious elite Ivy League as well as other similarly reputable colleges, like Stanford, University of Chicago, Duke or MIT, about their motivation for seeking admissions. The chimera that elitism is a salve against all of life’s ills, as well as absolves one of the consequences from life’s vagaries is tempting

Yet, every university community is composed of humans, who are all subject to inherent human emotion—jealousy, greed, anger, ignorance, desire, pride. Thus, without a humility born from acceptance of one’s imperfection, history-making “calamities” such as the current COVID-related economic upheaval, are not only inevitable but will be recurring, irrespective of whether one is pedigreed with an elite college degree. 

However, while seemingly convenient to demonize the elite universities and alums as the sole cause of social ills, students (and by extension their families) willingly chase elitism, actively participating in the academic meritocracy.

So, really, lacking humility, instead believing that by being fortunate enough to gain admissions to an elite university then accumulate enough gold stars in order to merit a degree which bestows “omnipotence, self-importance and entitlement”, we misguidedly assume a fundamental superiority over the rest of humanity, blinded to the plight of mere human beings who are incapable of achieving the elite status we now covet, potentially at the cost of our collective undoing.

For more information about how to navigate the complex college admissions process to prepare any student for the challenging global socioeconomic situtation, contact us at Creative Marbles Consultancy

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About Jill Yoshikawa, Ed M, Partner of Creative Marbles Consultancy

Jill Yoshikawa, EdM, Harvard ’99, a seasoned, 25 year educator and consultant, is meticulous in helping clients navigate all aspects of the educational experience, no matter the level of complexity. She combines educational theory with experience to advise families, schools and educators. A UCSD and Harvard graduate, as well as a former high school teacher, Jill works tirelessly to help her clients succeed.
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