Tag Archives: education

Stop Telling Teens to Find Their Passions

When I was applying to business school, part of my personal statement focused on how I found my passion for education and how I wanted to explore it more deeply. At that time in my life, the idea of finding a passion was gratifying, like I had somehow reached a higher plane of self-awareness. Today, after having worked with teenagers for the past twenty years as they navigate the college admissions journey though, my love of the word passion has lost its luster to the point that I rarely even say it aloud.

 

I used to ask kids enthusiastically, “What is your passion?” And then I would wait for them to blow me away with their answers. Their parents would stare at them expectantly as if meeting their child for the first time. Occasionally, I would get a surprising answer. More often than not, I received a shrug of the shoulders or a timid, “I don’t know.” I quickly, but not as quickly as I should have, realized that this simple question was too heavy to ask a young teenager – that asking them actually did the opposite of inspire, it made them feel like they were behind others, like they were somehow failing the college admissions race because they were still discovering themselves.

 

Personally, I also realized that passions change over time. While my passion for the intersection between business and education drove me to business school, it is more my profession now. Passion led me to discover as much as I could about the field, to devour articles, to take copious notes at presentations and seminars, to have conversations with as many people as possible. But if anyone asked me now, “what is your passion?” I would struggle the same as most 16-year-olds not because I don’t have interests, but rather because no one interest (other than a love for my children) captures my soul. Rather I want to be inspired by many topics – some in the same moment. I want to have spontaneity and space to learn about new things and take an interest. I don’t want to be defined by any one field or topic or endeavor. I want to be inspired by learning and the journey.

 

Rather than asking teens to have figured out their life’s calling by the time they are in high school, let’s change the conversation. Let’s ask these questions instead

What are you curious about?

What inspires you?

What do you want to learn about?

 

And then let’s give them the tools to explore. Let’s teach them that it is okay to read incessantly about a topic only to one day decide that they are no longer interested in the topic, the next. Let’s give them the space to experiment with ideas and projects that may ultimately fail. There is learning there, too. Let’s allow them to ask questions and say things aloud even if the words don’t make sense, because you are allowing them to form their thoughts and ideas without judgment. Let’s challenge them to think broadly and differently. Let’s encourage them to take risks – to try and know that making mistakes is okay. Let’s teach them to ask and answer the hard questions. Let’s teach them to communicate effectively with people of all backgrounds and experiences. Let’s show them that their world and perspective will continue to grow as long as they allow themselves to push themselves.

 

These days we are so focused on the end goal – getting kids into a certain college or on a path to a successful career. And unfortunately, many families are solely focused on a handful of career options. But if we really stop and look at those around us, what we see is that people who are truly successful and happy took a winding path. They let their lives meander with purpose towards different goals. They allowed new experiences to shape them. They learned from their failures as much as they learned from their successes. They are captivating not because of a given passion but because of an ability to tell stories about their interests, experiences, and ideas.

 

So, let’s not pressure teens to answer a question that most adults struggle with. We aren’t raising kids to just get them into college. We are raising them to be able to thrive in their lives.


Written by Purvi Mody

This article was written by Insight’s Co-Founder and Head of Counseling Purvi Mody.

Since 1998, Purvi has dedicated her career to education and is exceedingly well versed in the college admissions process. Her philosophy centers around helping kids identify and apply to the schools that are the best fit for them and then develop applications that emphasize their unique attributes and talents.

The Art of College Admissions

The Art of College Admissions

What are College Admissions Looking For? What might be the future impact Covid-19 has on the admissions policies? Join Insight Education’s webinar on “The Art of College Admissions” to learn from Insight’s 21 years of College Admissions Experience and What it Means for Students Navigating the Age of Covid and Social Upheaval Nationwide.

 

A FREE Community Webinar for high school students and families hosted by INSIGHT EDUCATION! 

Date: August 30, 2020

Time: 10:00am – 11:30am

Location: Online via Zoom

Please note: due to the high demand of this webinar, we recommend you reserve your spot early.

 

The College Admissions landscape has changed drastically over the past 21 years since Insight Education was founded.

 

Since 1999, Insight Education has advised thousands of students and their families as they embarked on their college admissions journey. Our dedicated team of education professionals is committed to providing personalized and comprehensive guidance through every facet of the high school experience and college admissions process.

 

Beyond test scores and GPA, we seek to foster curiosity and intellectual rigor in our students. Our values emphasize building sincere relationships with our families, anchored in trust, honesty, and a commitment to purposeful, compassionate listening.

 

Our rich history and experience, along with our understanding of high schools and the holistic approach colleges employ as they evaluate applicants, sets Insight apart in our ability to help students and families realize their educational goals. As our students transition into adulthood, we prepare them to leave Insight with the tools to engage in the lifelong learning process wholeheartedly, and to benefit from all that college has to offer.

Our Presentation will Cover:

* What has changed over the past 21 years and what that means for students today?
* How to pick a major and why it matters?
* What does “Holistic Admissions” really mean?
* What do colleges truly want to see on the application?
* How to balance extracurricular activities and academic profiles?
* How can modern-day students prepare for success in life after college?
* Debunk the most common college application myths and more.

 

We will be recording the event for use on social media and promotional activities in the future. By registering and attending this event, you are giving Insight Education LLC permission to record and produce footage that you may be a part of through live Q&A or Chats. 

 

It’s not just the destination that matters – it’s how you get there. We’re here to help you make the most of high school! We look forward to meeting you.

 

Thank you,

The Insight Team