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Shoot for the Stars ... Well, Maybe Not That Far

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Shoot for the Stars. Anything's Possible. The Sky's the Limit. The clichés about dreaming of individual greatness are infinite. But at what point do you need to say to a teenager: Get real, dude, you're a junior in high school and have Cs and Ds and you're still talking about being a doctor when you grow up. Do you really think you are motivated enough to suffer through medical school (that is, if you can find a school that will accept you) and then long hours as an intern?

Believe me, I like dreamers, because I am one. And the higher you set your expectations, the farther you will probably go. But the level of motivation has to match the expectations -- otherwise, teenagers are setting themselves up for disappointment and frustration.

An interesting new study by Florida State University researchers examined this problem and concluded that teen career plans are largely out of sync with reality. FSU Sociology Professor John Reynolds tracked changes in high school seniors' educational and occupational plans between 1976 and 2000. He found that the gap between teenagers' goals and actual achievements grew over the 25-year period.

Are today's teenagers simply out of touch with reality? The researchers suggest that grade inflation might be at least one factor. That makes sense to me. If the high school chemistry teacher is handing out A's to kids who stumble through every lab experiment and do little to truly understand the science, those kids might be superficially motivated to become chemists because they actually believe they are good at it.

Hmmm. That seems a bit troubling for those of us who might one day be purchasing chemicals from those would-be chemists.


4 Comments

I agree with your statements that there may be a mismatch between teens who are currently achieving Cs and Ds who simultaneously believe that medical school may be a wonderful career choice. However, I would argue with you about the "reality" that today's teen connect with or as you seem to claim, may not connect with. Although med school may not be the career choice there may be more to it then a teen's sudden drift from what most adults consider to be a shared vision of reality. The question may be, "at what point did they begin to disassociate achievement with career choices?" My guess is that this attitude was nourished at an earlier age. So yes, motivation matters and at what point does it become critical to a child's forward progress?

Quote: "If the high school chemistry teacher is handing out A's to kids who stumble through every lab experiment and do little to truly understand the science, those kids might be superficially motivated to become chemists because they actually believe they are good at it".

Yes!
It happens, and will continue to happen. The discrepancies are at many places, and the education process may itself be put to blame.
Following sources need to be re-evaluated:
Teacher taught ratio
Competency of teacher
learnability and comprehension-ability of student?

Some of the impediments in the performance metrics are systemic.

I shall return back (compullsions to break off)

Regards
Priyavrat Thareja
There
Shoot for the stars :-).
Who stops. But only if one is long sighted, and not myopic.
Say, if one can not focus on the centering of foresight between the shoulders of back site (not short sighted), the chances of success will be remote.
Joe, you describe it well in case of medical education. With C's and D's in portfolio when one tends to shoot the stars, one can be very very off the target. Career choices, ambitions, and competence are associated contingencies, waiting to be evaluated. So improving one's grades or capatence (capacity + competence) is vital.
In fact the trick better shooters deploy is change of focus from long to short and vice versa. And that should happen fast. Focus at long and validation with short (current status). One may call it alignment. Alignment of long term vision with short term goals and vice versa. Evidently the current processes and effectiveness is very essential towards improving chances of success. The motivation is to be driven.
The four tenets of motivation are certainly
i) Overwhelming Feeling of Attaining your Desired End…
ii)The Potent Force of Humanity…
iii) The Incentive
iv) Capacity to work

i.e. The above requirements explored in current context may be:-
*How determined one is to become a medico graduate?
*How is one going to be supported by one's peers in achieving desired competencies?
*What benefits are in pipe, which one is likely to accrue?
and
*How is one poised to work for the goals Capacity wise?

I hope this helps

Priyavrat thareja
[email protected]

I can certainly see you point but there are many routes to medical school that don't necessarily begin at high school. If the motivation is created and supported anyone can accomplish the goal at some level. Teens need to hear that the truth but they also must always betold they can change their route grade wise and that there are options. This is a daily on going process. They need to understand that high school years are the most important four years of their life. Even if they only develop the motivation and passion to want to get ahead. Going to a community college etc. Many people forget that they are not adults. They are children in adult looking bodies. They have more needs than the elementary students when it comes to support, encouragement, and reinforment of goals. They need their parents, teachers, administrators and the community to constantly provide them with high expectations at all times regardless of their personnal choices. Then they can make their own life choices. Their choices will change as they move through life.

I can certainly see you point but there are many routes to medical school that don't necessarily begin at high school. If the motivation is created and supported anyone can accomplish the goal at some level. Teens need to hear that the truth but they also must always be told they can change their route grade wise and that there are options. This is a daily on going process. They need to understand that their high school years are the most important four years of their lives. Even if they only develop the motivation and passion to want to get ahead. Going to a community college etc. Many people forget that they are not adults. They are children in adult looking bodies. They have more needs than the elementary students when it comes to support, encouragement, and reinforcement of goals. They need their parents, teachers, administrators and the community to constantly provide them with high expectations at all times regardless of their personnal choices. Then they can make their own life choices. Their choices will change as they move through life.

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