Reflection On Outliers

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It was my junior year of high school when I was seventeen years old. The school counselors sat me down in a bleak, yellow office and explained to me that all of my missed classes were taking a toll; I would not be able to graduate on time like the rest of my classmates. The counselors talked amongst themselves afterwards and I could hear them saying that it was only a matter of time before I dropped out. Their hushed tones dripped with condescension as they remarked I was just like the rest of the “bad kids” who skipped classes. They said I would end up going into continuation school -- if I was even smart enough for that. And the worst part was that they were right. My own mother never finished high school and, while my father graduated, he …show more content…
According to psychologist Angela Lee Duckworth, “Grit is passion and perseverance for very long term goals. Grit is having stamina. Grit is sticking with your future, day in and day out. Not just for the week, not just for the month, but for years and working really hard to make that future a reality. Grit is living life like a marathon, not a sprint.” Gladwell shows examples of this personality trait in his book Outliers, especially in the case of a math student named Renee. Renee was videotaped by a professor at UC Berkeley who was studying how students solve questions (239). What stood out about Renee was that she stayed focused and determined for twenty-two minutes while solving an eighth grade math problem. In the book, it discussed how Professor Schoenfeld asked high school students how long they would spend on a homework question before giving up. Their answers were between thirty seconds and five minutes (245). That proves Renee had grit; she displayed stamina and sticking with the problem until she got the answer she was looking for. Having grit made Renee successful in math. Another example showing grit in Outliers is a student named Marita. Marita is a twelve year old girl who goes to KIPP Academy. KIPP is a school in the poverty stricken area of Bronx New York (Gladwell 250). At KIPP, they have more structure than a regular private school, meaning more class time and less breaks. An average day is about ten hours, meaning the students are learning around fifty percent more time learning than at public school (261). Being only twelve, Marita has had to sacrifice a lot in her life. She describes in the book how she is at school for most of the day, when she comes home, she goes straight to homework, barely takes time to eat dinner, than gets ready for bed before falling asleep while telling her mom about how her day went (264-265). Marita displays a trait know as delayed gratification. Delayed

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