Student Government - ASB Cabinet Member, Woodcreek High School

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Well roundedness and immersion- what are their places in public schools, and in life?

I am a Junior at a high school in California. At my school there is something of an obsession with the UC and CSU college systems, which require a significant degree of "well roundedness". In the admissions processes to many organizations in my community, there is also a very large stress on well roundedness- even over passion and dedication for the cause of said organization.

Then there are schools and organizations such as Stanford- which above all else love to see an angular and action-based student- and achieve a great deal in promoting that sort of person.

I acknowledge that being exposed to a wide variety of concepts, ideas, and people is important (see: the entire philosophy of TED), however I am at a loss for how one is to balance well roundedness with dedication and passion (which I hold in much higher regard).

I do think is that there should be a way to exercise both without one getting on the way of another, but I am not quite sure how that would work (ie: balance X with Y whilst simultaneously using X and Y to better yourself in Z ? or somesuch nonsense?).

This is my first conversation I am starting on TED so please forgive me if it is not very clear.

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    Mar 17 2011: Hi Riley!

    My perspective, coming from my own experience, is that both are important, but are very different.

    Specifics is what will probably get you hired and making money, roundness is what will help you grow and be better prepared for change.

    Specifics can be more associated with education (not necessarily the case) while roundness from my perspective has more to do with culture and general interest.

    Regarding roundness, you may love quantum physics and plan to devote your life to expanding that field, but that doesn’t mean you will not be interested in finance (you want to know where your money goes) or politics, ecology, technology, ballet, etc.
    This of course are all just examples, roundness should be enough to let you engage any topic that you find interesting, and that should be it from my standpoint. Learning or memorizing content that has no relation to your interests and that is also specific is likely to be a waste of time (sometimes it can be challenging to make the difference).

    I hope this is of use to you.