Stephen Hawking is the brightest mind of the century. He’s a theoretical physicist, a cosmologist, an author, and an expert on the relationship between General Relativity and Quantum Theory. There’s a movie about him, he’s met tons of celebrities, and he’s a millionaire, but he probably has something in common with you. He went to school!
Hawking went to Oxford, then Cambridge, so he knows a thing or two about college. In his most recent autobiography, My Brief History, he shares five life lessons on how to become a genius. What he has to say might surprise you. Here’s some wisdom from the wisest of them all, for college students everywhere.
1. Don't work too hard in school.
In his book, he says he did about 1,000 hours of work a day in the three years he was at Oxford, so, about an hour a day. If Stephen Hawking did an hour a day, so can you. Don’t stress too much, don’t cram, and don’t worry about making everything perfect. Perfect isn’t a thing.
2. Don't pretend you're too cool for school, either.
Hawking wrote, “We affected an air of complete boredom and the feeling that nothing was worth making an effort for,” about his time in school before he got sick. His illness, though, is what made him realize that “life is worth living, and there are lots of things you want to do.” Don’t miss out on opportunities, especially if you know, deep down, that you want to pursue them.
3. Don't get all up in your head, and keep it simple.
Have you ever read a biology textbook, and re-read the same paragraph over and over, because the jargon is that complex? Get out of your head and don’t focus on that. Hawking recommends “thinking in pictoral terms and use mental images in words with the help of familiar analogies and diagrams,” TAL Group reports.
Play pranks, like Hawking did. Go out. Have a drink. Go to a sporting event. Enjoy college, it doesn’t last forever.
5. Look for the silver lining.
“My disability has not been a serious handicap in my scientific research,” he said “In some ways it has been an asset: I haven’t had to lecture or teach undergraduates, I haven’t had to sit on tedious and time-consuming committees. I’ve been able to devote myself entirely to research.” His message is to make the best of whatever situation you’re in, even if it seems like it’s the worst possible thing. There’s always a silver lining.
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