Poets and Mathematicians

“I stayed away from mathematics not so much because I knew it would be hard work as because of the amount of time I knew it would take, hours spent in a field where I was not a natural.”

— Carl Sandburg

Carl Sandburg is a poet, the author of my favorite poem. I’ve been thinking a lot about his quote this past week, which I’ve spent reading through the Zen Valedictorian articles over at Study Hacks. The articles are a better-expressed version of a life outlook that I’ve written about some on HackCollege, and which I espouse to anyone who will stand still in person: at some point, being the over-stressed, over-extended student in an attempt to be Tracy Flick will fail you. More importantly, even if it’s something that you can manage, at least for a little while, it’s still not an efficient use of your time. The students who stand out are the ones who become very good at something they enjoy. Colleges don’t tell their students that, though, and so you get the sort of student that the Zen Valedictorian articles are critiquing–over-worked and not particularly outstanding.

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