Big Fish, Little Fish, Big Pond, Little Pond Part II

We continue with this conversation of Is it better to be a Big Fish in a Little Pond or a Little Fish in a Big Pond?

This is a quote from page 63 by Caroline Sacks from David And Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell:

“If I’d gone to the University of Maryland, I’d still be in science.”

My question is did Carloline Sacks really make the wrong decision by choosing Brown instead of the University of Maryland? Brown, of course, is one of the top colleges in the United States while Maryland is rated much lower.

According to Gladwell on page 71:

“But let’s think about Caroline’s decision in the same way the Impressionists thought about the Salon. What the Impressionists understood, in their endless debates at the Cafe Guerbois, was that the choice between the Salon and a solo show wasn’t a simple case of a best option and a second-best option. It was a choice between two very different options, each with its own strengths and drawbacks.”

Based on Caroline’s background, she may have found it very difficult to be a Little Fish in a Big Pond, considering she had always made straight A’s.

One of the other questions that I thought of was did Caroline think before she left Brown of any other options in science in which she may have pursued. Organic chemistry, if you ask anyone, is one of the most difficult courses in any college curriculum and that was, in my opinion, her stumbling block. Was this really a Little Fish in a Big Pond issue or was it something else?







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