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Intellect vs. passion

When choosing a university how do you decide which path to follow?

Our elder says when you know what you want, you’ll know what to do.

Dear EWC:

In the past two years of high school, I have recently become highly involved in a sport, so much so that my current coach wants me to stay at my nearby state school and train with him, because he believes that with a year of training I could achieve monumental success with my talent and drive.

He has two people in this sport right now that are achieving international success, so he’s not speaking from nothing. I have a huge amount of passion for my sport. In the classroom, I also did my best to achieve good results and I was accepted into some pretty good schools, one with a scholarship.

I am torn between leaving my state and going to an intellectual university (as I believe I would go crazy at a state school) and continuing my passion and becoming very successful at it. Likewise, because of the nature of my sport, it’s likely that with two years at my state school I could transfer on to an Ivy college team, which is the level of academic rigor that I desire.

It’s a pretentious feeling that I’m aware of—not wanting to go to a state school, I mean-but I also feel that I would lose my experience of learning and having fun at university if I went to a state school. Likewise, staying at the state school is a lot of risk. I might not become very good at my sport. Or coronavirus will ruin everything. But if I forget about my sport (the competitive side of it, anyway), I don’t know if I can shake the feeling that I gave up on my dreams. Thank you for reading.

Terry-Anne replies:

Thank you for writing to Elder Wisdom Circle regarding your current dilemma. From what you have written it is clear that you have given this situation a lot of thought. Living near a prominent Ivy League school, I can certainly understand the lure and prestige of attending. Also, I have a friend who says, “If you can get into an Ivy League school you should go.”
You have to make the best decision for you. Not your coach, your parents, or anyone else. Also, it sounds like you are trying to decide between a sport and academics. In my opinion, you need an evaluation of your talent in your sport before making a decision. Someone who has the experience and qualifications should do this evaluation. Making a decision based on your coach’s opinion seems risky to me.

From the tone of your letter, it sounds as if you know what you really want and that’s the Ivy League. My best advice is to listen to that little voice inside you that is telling you what to do.
I hope my advice is helpful and that you will contact Elder Wisdom Circle again if you need us. We are always here.

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