Very recently, my mom has made me wake up every morning at eight o’ clock. One hour of reading Chinese, one hour of watching Korean dramas to improve my Korean, and two hours of studying math, she says.

A few days ago, I picked up a Chinese book and read through it. It was a Chinese version of The Tortoise and the Hare. At the end of it, she pointed out to me that this story could be applied directly to my academic life.

You all know the story of the tortoise and the hare. The hare, an arrogant and confident fool, challenges everybody to a race, and nobody stands up to him except the tortoise.  The race goes on and eventually the hare gets so far ahead that he decides to take a nap. He wakes up a few hours later and notices that the tortoise has already passed him and is so close to the finish line that the hare cannot catch up and pass him.

I, here, am the hare. I started my academic life in the Challenge Program (Summit, as you Mukilteo-ites would call it). Up until sixth grade (I was still in elementary school). I remember very clearly that  we were doing Geometry. The kind with proofs and finding exterior angles of polygons.  You know, the kind most people do in high school. We read books like Tom Sawyer.

Then we had family issues. Stuff happened. Money ran dry. We had to move. I moved to the house I’m in now. I had to transfer schools.

Seventh grade. I’m put in a class filled with seventh graders. Probablilty. Whoo! (At the time, I was thinking, “Crap. I don’t remember how to do this. Lemme see if I can skip this class.” I’ve never told anybody that before.) So I went up a level to Algebra I. That’s a level lower than Geometry. I asked the teacher if I could skip it and she said no; it was a high-school credit course. I needed the credit. I could take no test to pass it.

So I dealt with it. I took the class, didn’t try at all. Passed with an A. This is the year when my “nap” began.

8th grade, Geometry. No try. Passed.

9th grade. Transcript begins to count. Report card: 5 A’s, 1 C. C was in English. ” I argued with the teacher about this grade. Half-hearted arguing, I would say. I gave up on it.

10th grade. Report card: 3 A’s. 1 C, 1 D, 1 F. Begged the “F” teacher to show mercy. He didn’t.  Have to retake the class next year.

See where I’m going with this? 10th grade is when the “tortoise” has caught up to the “hare.” The class I failed was the one I was ahead in. Now I’m with people I’m supposed to be with.

Hopefully I wake up from this nap before it’s too late.

But let’s think about the moral of the story: “Slow and steady wins the race.”

Is this true? Do people who go slowly and take their time ultimately win in the end?

Personally, I don’t think this is true. I think “Fast and steady wins the race.” But there have been stories of people who have not finished high school who are more rich than those who have Ph.Ds.

But that doesn’t seem very common.

In fact, it seems like a downright lie.

But maybe it is true.

Maybe slow and steady DOES win the race.

Maybe most who excel now will just have dead-end jobs in the future.

While others who have trouble at school learn the hardships of life and use it to their advantage.

But where is my life going?

Only God knows.


2 thoughts on “Me?

  1. Comrade Jason,

    What happens is that the arrogance of the hare gets to him. It isn’t really the nap itself that is the demon, but rather the cause of it, his belief that he will definitely win the race.

    This is why some Ph. D’s end up with bad jobs down the road, because they believe they are already so far ahead that they cannot possibly fail, which, as in the story, is what happens.

    Rather, the virtues of hard work and constant determination, those which are implicitly shown in the tortoise, are what propel the less intellectually gifted to success.

    The moral at the end of the story, at least in this situation, cannot be applied. Instead, it would be “Talent is good, work is better.”

    ~Comrade Preston Sahabu

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