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The Power of Untapped Potential

Education returned to be a topic among our blogs as Amanda wrote it last week We do not own everything and may not receive everything ( and Maya weeks ago Working at pt 12: Are you Educationally Privileged?. As I am reflecting on my academic journey, I figured there are a lot of people I need to thank for bringing out the best of me.

Hi everyone, Fabian here from the think-team, trying to appreciate the heroes of my life path. I was triggered to write this blog after having a conversation with Green School students about career paths. To my surprise, they weren't as exposed to as many options as I thought they would. Conventional education paths were still the same as the ones discussed when I was in High School nearly a decade ago. You must go to college and in most Indonesian families, you must major in Medicine, Law, Economy, or nothing else. These students seem to not know their potential.

This reminded me of a paper I wrote for Philosophy class during University. I won't share the whole thing because my professor pointed out the fallacies at the end. But I think the premise is slightly relevant. Inspired by one line from the Circle (not the whole movie!), Emma Wattson's character says that her biggest fear is "unfulfilled potential".

My argument was that since there are an unlimited amount of achievable skills out there, anyone has unlimited potential. In fact, even when anyone grows, we still aren't clairvoyant enough to detect spontaneous occurrences of talent. This means that even anyone up to this day, has an innumerable amount of potential.

This fact made me believe that there is literally too much this world could offer. In fact, so much there is a word for it by one of my favorite channels. The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows creates words to explain the complex feelings of humans. One word that really hit me was called "Onism", meaning "the awareness of how little of the world you'll experience".

I didn't actually get depressed after watching this video. It made me extremely motivated to not scratch the surface of this Earth and to explore as much as I am able to. I strongly believe that people who are unsure of what they like or what they dislike are ones who haven't explored enough. I don't think I will ever reach the finish line in exploring. We will never know our options until we explore. It saddens me to see untapped potential among people just because they don't know their potential or because they have never went out and explore.

All the discussion about potential aside, there were many people in my journey that helped me unleashed mine. Going back to the education discussion, I was exposed to many higher education options beyond the conventional. There are really too many people to thank, but I'd like to highlight one hero for this post - my college counselor back in Highschool Bu Dian.

Bu Dian (also known as Bu Di) singlehandedly catered the needs of hundred's of students' to arrive where they wanted to. She arranged university visits, guest speakers, and everything so that students can find a major that would fit. See, knowing which major would fit you is one part, the other part is handling the tedious administration process. Preparing to study abroad in the Netherlands was something I had to fight for. Long story short, I could not study in Europe because of the Highschool curriculum that I had. One way to enter was to take four AP (Advanced Placement) tests, which weren't really available. The school must know how to facilitate that and coordinate with the CollegeBoard.

Feeling defeated, I thought it was purely impossible to go to the University of my dreams. But Bu Di wouldn't let administration be the barrier. She managed to arrange four AP tests with CollegeBoard in the midst of a busy academic year, reminded me to submit registration documents, and supervised every single test I did (and even managed to take silly pictures of me during AP Calculus exam). I'm sure some of her weekends and off-work hours were sacrificed. In the end, I did manage to enter that university, and respect is the least I could give. I would not be enough to express my gratitude in this blog. Someone that helped me push my potential. Crazily enough, we don't have a picture together. So here are some screenshots of our chat.

I think my main message for anyone is that you will never really know what you are able to do until someone shows you the way. Studying abroad was a farfetched concept for some people, yet also the norm for others. Some people may say "oh it's difficult to study abroad get scholarships etc", some may say "I've done that, here's how". So for those who are lost, explore. You will find something or even someone to show you the way. For those who have "made it", show your way to the newer generations. The world is in need of more people to share and expose everyone's untapped potential.

Thanks for reading! I hope you got something out of this blog. While you're reflecting on your lifepath, is there anyone you would like to put on a pedestal for unleashing your potential? I'm interested to hear in the comments!

See you next week!

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1 Comment

Mako S
Mako S
Oct 18, 2021

O definitely my mother comes to the top😎 She has been a really huge help both mentally and financially. She has never said one word that denies my goals. but I would say she is my “Parent “ that always creates a safe place for me than a “pedestal”. Maybe there might be someone that significantly alter my life or at least get myself into a more greater version of myself, but for now I am grateful for each person I get to know.

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