After first being deferred and now waitlisted by University of Michigan, Michelle finally decided to move on by committing to Indianan University. To others, being directly admitted with scholarship to the honor program of Kelley School of Business of IU is no small accomplishment, but not my Michelle. Ever since her visit of the campus in 2010, attending UMich has been her goal and dream. Michelle came to the painful conclusion that her chance to get off the waitlist would be slim after corresponding with one of the assistant deans of undergraduate education and reading between the lines of his email.

I could see that my precious girl was heartbroken. So I hugged her, “You know Michelle, dad and I will always love you and support you no matter where you are and what you do.”

Michelle smiled faintly.

I really wanted to cheer her up. “How about you and I go on a shopping spree this weekend? I could use one myself. It’s been a rough week.”

Michelle’s grinned.

Jake turned 7 on Friday. I took him to Target after his drum lesson and soccer practice to buy the goodie bag stuff for this birthday Party on Sunday. Jake wanted a toy. I said okay since it was his birthday.

When we got everything needed for the party, Jake led the way to the toy section. He went from isle to isle, checking things out. When he saw something interesting, he made a comment to himself, “This could be something I might want.” Every once in a while, Jake pointed to a big box and asked if it could be one of his choices. I told him no and reminded him of all the presents he was going to receive on Sunday. He finally narrowed it down to 4 choices.
“Jake, make up your mind. We have to go home.” I tried to give him a nudge to move on.

Jake did the “eeny, meeny, miny, moe’ with his 4 fingers and consequently1 finger disappeared. He refreshed him memory with what each finger stood for, restarted the process and narrowed his choices down to 2. Finally he went back to reexamine his final selections and made a decision.

Standing on the sideline observing this serious and thorough decision-making technique, I couldn’t help but bursting into laughter. Jake smiled back at me. “What is this kid’s college decision process going to be like?” I wondered to myself.

I have 3 children and they are so different from one another. Jane applied for 2 colleges and picked one. It was a done deal in January. Michelle put much more effort and thinking into it but ended up not seeing her dream come true. Even if she were accepted by UMich, there would be no guarantee that she’d get into her dream major. She’ll need to have an average GPA of 3.5, 3 club activities and one leadership role at the end of the freshman year to qualify for Ross School of Business. Michelle knows it’s a daunting task although she is willing to work for it if given the opportunity. With Jake, I see lots of promises and a new dream budding. From the lessons we’ve learned from Jane and Michelle, I believe Joe and I are in a better position to help this curious and rational little guy live up to his full potential and aspiration.

I was asked a few days ago by my boss’s boss who is new to the company to take a different role at work. Instead of producing analytical insight, he wanted me to share and sell the insight to our business counterparts by convincing them to utilize it in order to gain a competitive edge in the big data era. It has never been my aspiration to get involved with the corporate politics or climb the corporate ladder. Things are just fine the way they are. I have reached a new equilibrium in life and I am happy. The challenges and uncertainties ahead make me jittery.

Whether you are living your own dream or fulfilling the dreams of others, the willingness and ability to adapt to constant changes without getting completely distracted is the key to success. I hope Michelle will be strong and resilient enough to keep working towards her goals. As for me, I am hoping I can somehow make my dream and my new boss’s career goals converge.