Some people are cynical about college - it’s rigid, they say - why is it even needed?
Don’t be confused about college - it’s not a place for creativity. You can’t use an essay to wander restlessly through your imagination - you’ll fail - and fail quickly. Universities are places for conscientious minds.
Conscientiousness - the desire to do the needed well and thoroughly - is the best predictor of success in college, in graduate school, in law, in management and anyplace that has structure and rules.
In science, most progress is incremental. Oh sure, there’s the occasional Einstein who changes everything, but that’s rare. The reason science is so powerful is that it allows regular, educated people to advance knowledge one microstep at a time. Imagine a hundred thousand people microstepping and exchanging knowledge and wow, now we’re zooming.
You don’t want a surgeon in their well lit operating theater to have an inspiration and try something new on you. You want them to apply the state-of-the-art procedure diligently and carefully.
Entrepreneurs and artists don’t always do well in college. Those careers require constant “out of the box” thinking. When a person starts a company, there are no rules, it’s necessary for the entrepreneur to make things work on the fly. Artists are almost required to break or create new rules. Conscientiousness certainly plays a part in those fields but it’s not the main predictor of success.
Creativity is necessary - every company needs a small group of people generating new ideas but it’s a high risk, high reward game. Few new ideas pan out - the odds that your idea will be unique, practical, affordable and reach the marketplace at exactly the right time to be successful are astronomically low.
Someone who wants to - who feels they have to be creative - is almost cursed. Yes, it’s ironic that I’m publishing this on a poetry site - but in most cases creative people fail - it’s much better for the average someone to be practical. Practical people are generally more successful in life although the rare creative can be extremely successful (Musk, Jobs, Gates).
Colleges teach how our world works - a simulacrum of what is currently known - in hopes that the student will be able, one day, to ask the next question - the one that will push their particular science ahead that one microstep and move us all into the bright future.
BLT Marriam Webster word of the day challenge: simulacrum: a representation of something.