Friday, March 5, 2010

Opportunity Cost

If I had studied half as much in undergrad as I do now, I don't know that I would be in grad school.  I was a solid B student most of my life because I believed I was smart.  If I understood what was going on in class and could do the homework, I didn't think there was any need to review the material much further.  My senior year of high school I remember really having to teach myself math and I'm sure there were a few sociology and economics classes in college I did a little memorization for, but I honestly never cared too much. 

Now, I spend hours and hours reviewing material, making flashcards, listening to the professor's notes on my iPod and working through practice problems.  I give up many a Saturday night to spend with my textbooks as opposed to my girl friends. While I suppose my grades are slightly better than they were back then, I can't imagine what they would be like now if I didn't put in all this effort.  And half the time I do put in the effort I think I should, I still don't necessarily get the results I want. 

So I guess that's a good adult lesson.  Care.  Care a lot.  Don't coast along because you think you're smart and deserve it.  Work hard.  You can coast later.  Nothing is going to be handed to you this time around.  Don't just assume you'll get what you want because you think you're smart and mildly charming. 

I've learned that if I want extraordinary things I need to work extraordinarily hard to get them.  That life is about decisions.  Opportunity cost if you will.  These decisions lately haven't been the easiest.  I know that ultimately they are the right ones, but they surely don't come without consequence.  Without losing friends and feeling lost and getting frustrated and shedding tears. 

Perspective is hard when I come home to my empty - albeit nice and cozy - apartment after more than twelve hours of work, class and studying for two days straight.  It's tough when my phone doesn't ring as much as it used to and the weather is lousy and I miss my family something fierce. 

But when I get those tests back and I see my grades online, I'm proud of myself.  I know, somewhere deep down inside, that this is what I should be doing.  I've come so far in the last year and I have just about a year and a half to go before I start a whole new chapter in my life.  It's going to be a  lot of hard work and I will be forced to make a lot more difficult decisions, but that's what being an adult is all about.  Now I just have to get through March. 

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