Percentages by Erika Guy, Dean of Students
Woody Allen said, "Eighty percent of success is showing up." Thomas Edison asserted that "Genius is one percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration." Henry Kissinger maintained that "Ninety percent of the politicians give the other 10 percent a bad reputation," and Yogi Berra predictably mused that “Baseball is 90 percent mental and the other half is physical."
I am not sure what our fascination is with making predictions or observations using percentages, but I am 100 percent certain that it will continue. As we enter college acceptance season, our love/hate relationship with percentages only intensifies. What high school senior would NOT want to be one of the few to be amidst that small percentage who defy the odds? As parents you too want the percentages to work in the favor of your child, but the reality is that the percentages are small. Infinitesimally small. So with the season of thanks and giving with us, I encourage you to work with your child through triumph or disappointment. To that end, I offer one of MY favorite percentage quotes: “Ten percent of life is what happens to you; Ninety percent is how you react to it” (John W. Gardner).
In 1987, Globe columnist (and former Nobles parent) David Nyhan wrote "The College Rejection Letter." It has often been reprinted in early spring. Times have changed and now so many of our students apply to colleges in the early decision timeframe, so I offer this exerpt below (followed by the link to the full article) to adjust to 2011 trends. Remember, "90 percent of life is how you react to it."
The College Rejection Letter
By: David Nyhan
THE REJECTIONS arrive this time of year in thin, cheap envelopes, some with a crummy window for name and address, as if it were a bill, and none with the thick packet you'd hoped for.
The admissions committee gave full consideration . . . but I regret to inform you we will be unable to offer you a place in the Class of 2012." Lots of applicants, limited number of spaces, blah blah blah, good luck with your undergraduate career. Very truly yours, Assistant Dean Blowhard, rejection writer, Old Overshoe U.
This is the season of college acceptance letters. So it's also the time of rejection. You're in or you're out. Today is the day you learn how life is not like high school. To the Ins, who got where they wanted to go: Congrats, great, good luck, have a nice life, see you later. The rest of this is for the Outs.
You sort of felt it was coming. Your SAT scores weren't the greatest. Your transcript had some holes in it. You wondered what your teachers' recommendations would really say, or imply. And you can't help thinking about that essay you finished at 2 o'clock in the morning of the day you absolutely had to mail in your application, that essay which was, well, a little weird.
Maybe you could have pulled that C in sociology up to a B-minus. Maybe you shouldn't have quit soccer to get a job to pay for your gas. Maybe it was that down period during sophomore year when you had mono and didn't talk to your teachers for three months while you vegged out. What difference does it make what it was? It still hurts.
To read the full article, please click here.