I am a second-year student
Here in your second year, you have likely found your bearings. You understand more of what it means to be a college student and, one hopes, a successful one, too. You know better how to navigate the institution, that there are professors who care about your development and wellbeing, that this college thing is something you can do, and that Baylor is where you belong.
And yet. If you are here, visiting this site to learn how to maximize your education, you sense that there is more—more wisdom to gain, more ideas to encounter, more knowledge to uncover, more experience to enjoy. One thing you might sense, too, is that there is a tension in all of this, one that, be assured, is the endemic to the human condition: you want to go wide and do it all, and you also want to go deep, to understand and experience things in their richness and complexity, which requires commitment, contemplation, and time you might not feel you have.
In the academic literature on innovation, there is a trait sometimes attributed to those people who become the real difference-makers. They are called T-shaped people because they have learned, or perhaps just intuited, the need to develop themselves in the shape of the letter T. They explore broad interests in many subjects—arts and sciences and business and social justice, perhaps—which form the horizontal axis of the T. Simultaneously, or perhaps only subsequently, they also find that thing where their curiosities are so profound that they can't help but develop a depth of expertise, the vertical axis of the T. What happens in these people is something called associative thinking. They draw insights from their expertise and apply it to one of the fields where they might have no less interest but, by necessity, slightly shallower expertise. Or perhaps they notice something in one of their broad interests that no one has ever thought to apply in their area of expertise. This associative work, we've found, is often where the magic is.
But, most likely, this won't just happen on its own. You're going to have to think well about how you are spending your time. And likely, you are going to have to double down on some commitments to ensure that your experiences are deep, not just wide. That's how you ought to begin thinking in the second year. How might I commit myself deeply to the things that matter, while simultaneously pursuing broad interests?
Take some time to explore this section of the website to see how you might maximize your education as a second-year student. Click through the links below, and, as always, reach out to us if you'd like assistance in exploring how to do these things.