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Manuel R. De Juan Headshot

Applying Third Metric Principles to the College Application Process

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I spent the better part of one evening and one full day watching live-stream updates of the Thrive Third Metric event in New York City. My wife and son were present there. Arianna Huffington's Thrive Third Metric principles apply to the college application process, in more ways than one. The Third Metric "manifesto" essentially proposes that we all redefine what success is truly all about. To live a successful life, Ms. Huffington advocates that we add a critically important dimension, beyond "power" and "money," to the metrics of personal success: the concept of thriving.

Ms. Huffington is on a quest to motivate individuals to take control of factors in their lives that are dragging down their well-being, productivity and relationships. One of the premises of the Third Metric postulates seems to be that, in the American idiosyncratic quest for excellence and accomplishment, technology has become a catalyst for highly damaging hyper-connectivity. Individuals in our hyper-driven society are increasingly addicted to technology, and unable to disconnect. Time devoted to sleep and for "down-time" is eroding. "Burn-out" is rampant. And the notion of what is truly important in life gets distorted. From the "third metric" perspective, few areas seem more desperate to me these days than the college application process.

My only son will enter college as a first-year student in the fall. For the most part of the last year, he, and his parents, were immersed in the college-application rat race. It is very easy to lose sight of what is really important in the college search and application process. To me, the end-game was always only about finding the optimal match between my son's dreams, aspirations and nature, with his final choice for a college experience. In some ways, we were lucky. My son has known for some time exactly what he wants to do in life; and what he wants to study to get there. This is a major advantage to be able to Thrive in the college application process, and reach the end-game joyfully. My son shared our view that, what he does as an individual to harness the opportunities any college offers him is far more important than any college's "brand name." And still, he aimed to get into "the best college possible."

The Third Metric model for college applications, I believe, calls for adapting the end-game goal to the following notion: "the best possible college for me; where I can continue my journey to become who I want to be." As for all of us parents, we need to do our job to help our children "become all they can be." But, to do our job well, we must understand that their happiness in life is not determined by which college or graduate school they attend. It is determined, almost exclusively, by how much we love them and how well we demonstrate our love. Metric your love, and you will be able to measure your success as a parent.