For those of us who love languages like Latin and Greek, and for those of us who despise these languages but have to learn them anyway for graduate studies, you might find inspiration in Veronica Shi of Princeton.
Shi, a major in classical literature, was named the salutatorian of the 2011 class. She came from having no background in Latin to being awarded the first A+ in an upper-level Latin course. Shi will deliver her salutatorian (just a notch under valedictorian) speech in Latin at the Princeton commencement and will go on for a graduate degree in classics at Oxford.
None of us will probably ever go on to read Homer or Cicero, and none of us will probably even wow our professors in our Greek and Latin classes. Yet, it is possible to find passion at least to learn Greek and Latin, even if it means learning them just to pass the test. Yet, who knows—maybe one of us will wow our professors and make an important contribution to either or both languages. Also, Oxford still would not be a bad choice from which to earn a graduate degree.
Read the story on Veronica Shi here.
Or it reminds me how many smart people are out there! Dang, I wish I was that smart.
I know! Now I’m inspired to go Princeton and repeat what Shi did, except get valedictorian — and then I woke up from a dream.
All kidding aside (or at least some of it) this does bring up the question for me regarding the interaction between genius and passion for something. Malcom Gladwell says that genius is someone’s great, great love for it…not necessarily so-called “raw talent”. I tend to disagree. I think some people are hard wired to succeed in certain areas with ease compared to the rest of us.
Reminds of the story here: http://www.creativeminorityreport.com/2010/08/harvard-valedictorian-joins-convent.html
A harvard valedictorian is planning to become a nun, and she gave her speech in Latin! The only way it could have been cooler was if it was in Greek ;-).
Or Greek with Latin subtitles.
@Brian: I think Gladwell is right in some respect, and so are you. For example, many piano virtuosos are virtuosos because their wiring has allowed them to do well in that area, but others have become virtuosos not so much because of their inherent skills or the ease at which the piano came to them, but because of the hours they diligently put into it. Such diligence to labor those long hours likely came because of their passion.
@Alex: I concur! Even more awesome would have been the speech in high Latin, low Latin, koine Greek, and classical Greek. 😀
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