Embracing the Positively Different

What if we were to consider the possibility that each of us is an individual, strengths and weaknesses abounding–and make the most of it? Think of the wealth that could be redirected from pharmaceuticals to, I don’t know, figuring out of it’s worth our while to set up a slingshot to the moon. One individual is glad he was taken at face value:

As a New York City public-school kid who grew up with obvious, but at the time undiagnosed, attention issues, I attribute my success to the fact that I was always too fast, too off the beaten track, too squirmy.

I wasn’t put on medication to “make me like everyone else,” and I consider myself ridiculously fortunate to have had teachers at LaGuardia High School of Music and Performing Arts who recognized my creativity and encouraged me to run with it, instead of convincing my parents to shove a pill down my throat to calm me down.

[…]

I’m also diagnosed ADHD for over 15 years, and it’s because of my ADHD, not in spite of it, that I’m as successful as I am today.

When I got into the real world, I discovered that my creativity and unbounded energy didn’t fit into a traditional corporate environment, so I went out on my own as an entrepreneur — and it was the best decision I ever made.

According to a recent study, students with ADHD are 2.7 times more likely to have dropped out of school before high school graduation. Yet the No. 1 way to lower dropout rates is to introduce students to something they’re passionate about — whether it’s sports, music or any subject. The answer isn’t “Throw them on meds and hope for the best.”

Of course, it takes far more time and effort on the part of educators to do this–and many aren’t willing to make the investment. One wonders how many of this generations’ possible brilliants have already had their facets ground off by attempts to make them tractable through pharmaceuticals?

Gaps Are Here to Stay?

I took a gap year (well, two) before it was cool to do so. I did so under the misapprehension that I would save up money before blowing it on a university degree, but I knew I was headed to school after the gap. However, this article makes a good point:

Once upon a time, America’s university system functioned as a bridge between the frivolities of youth and the responsibilities of adulthood. These days, however, students can all but major in frivolity, while remaining shielded from inconvenient facts and uncomfortable realities. As American Enterprise Institute scholar Charles Murray has written, “Today’s colleges are structured to prolong adolescence, not to midwife maturity.”

It’s almost as though students don’t want to grow up–and other people are more than willing to take the students’ future earnings, and parents’ current earnings, in exchange for keeping the buzz going a little bit longer.