Sharing news and commentary about education, careers, investing, and life.

Sharing news and commentary about education, careers, investing, and life.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Important Lesson: Finding Your Niche

I just read a great article about a new program at Southern Miss that explores the connection between human performance (for example, sports) and high-tech materials. Think of it as athletics meets science! But the important take from the article is this:

"Southern Miss will not compete with [the Massachusetts Institute of Technology] in physics or [the California Institute of Technology] in chemistry," he said. "But we can carve out these niches ... and create something that's special and unique to Southern Miss."

For students like Cook, a collegiate and high school athlete, the sports and high performance materials degree is the opportunity of a lifetime--the perfect scientific and professional match.

The point is that it's very important to find your niche and that requires being realistic about your abilities. If you realize you can't be the best at something, say in math, but still love math... then maybe you can be the best stock trader and still use math a lot. On a more personal note, I really love business, particularly investing, but that requires math (and I couldn't exactly compete with someone in the field) but I've managed to find a niche that doesn't require constant complex math calculations (for now!)

Another example is Orion. He knows he isn't as singularly gifted as some at physics, and as others at mechanical engineering, but he's bridged the gap between the two majors and found a niche. He's double majoring, adding in a nanomaterials concentration, and looking at graduate programs in alternative energy that correspond with the niche he's developed.

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