I realize that most people will shudder in disgust at this node, but I really need to get this off my chest. I just started my freshman year at a dinky little junior college two months ago. Over the past eight weeks, I have had the pleasure of studying chemistry under an excellent instructor. He is a fairly young Indian doctor (academic, not medical) with a heavy accent and an odd way of approaching lectures. At first, I thought he was going to be great just because of his instructor humor value--due to his analogies which include comparing electrons to fighting puppies and equilibrium to filling one's pocket with money--but then he began to say things that really affected me.

In the fifth week of class, he started to mention how certain concepts would be useful to us upon entering graduate school. Now, I don't like to be critical towards anyone in the current chemistry classes, but most of them will probably never even know what graduate school is, much less attend it. As the week progressed, he brought up the idea of graduate school again, but this time he talked of attending graduate school at places such as Harvard, Yale, and Stanford. The majority of the room burst into snickers, but he continued by saying that anything we wanted to accomplish is possible with enough hard work. This is what really struck me as profound.

His birthplace has little to do with my admiration for him; instead, it is more the fact that he came to the United States, went to college, and then attended graduate school and earned a PhD in a rather difficult field (I believe it's either biochemistry or organic chemistry). Not only that, but he also discovered an anti-cancer drug while attending graduate school. Now, his accomplishments obviously must be attributed partly to his genius--he is incredibly intelligent--but I tend to think that it is also due to his attitude, his attitude which refuses to accept mediocrity and artificial limits. When he told us that we could go to Harvard and Stanford, he did not see a room full of mediocre students attending a half-assed junior college; he saw a room full of potential scientists, doctors, and engineers.

Perhaps unknowingly, he taught me a very important lesson; we should not be bound to the limits that we have set for ourselves. Instead, we should revolt against and go past these limits and become what we truly wish to be. If a man from the Far East can do it, why can't everyone?