KEFI: Who Has A Bright Future?

In today’s dose of Kiki KEFI, we’ll reflect on an honorable invitation that made me think about college, what it takes to be the best, and is there only one path to a bright future.

High school graduation has a way of evoking excitement, adventure, and even apprehension, all in one fell swoop. One chapter is over, another is about to begin. What is the next step? Where will it lead to? Is that place good enough? These questions are relevant. Where does the KEFI come in? Read on.



Marisa & Christine Morella visit Yale.
Marisa & Christine Morella visit Yale




Focus on the person and not the place

Rewind to last weekend when my friend Christine and I were engaged in a parenting discussion, which led to our daughters and where they will attend college in the fall. To my astonishment, Christine shared with me, because I asked, some impressive and lofty information. Her daughter Marisa had been invited by Yale, Princeton, Harvard, and MIT to consider their institutions for the next phase of her education. My spirit of inquiry was heightened: I wanted to know “exactly how smart is Marisa?”  Christine answered my question with a reflection on their Yale tour experience.


She told me these facts:


“Everyone applying to Ivy League schools is intelligent, and each person is in the same playing field.Yale receives approximately 35,000 applications and it accepts a mere 1,660 incoming freshman.”


Wow. Each applicant has a real shot at attending the fiercely competitive institution — but only if they are able to successfully illustrate who they are, and furthermore, what is the gift they can share to make the world a better place in which to live. The vehicle for this exposition is a personally written essay to demonstrate how the candidate stands out in relation to a life experience, talent, their journey, or possibly the productive use of their intellect. It’s almost inconceivable that a real person reads each one of those 35,000 essays to bring to light the genuine candidate, but someone actually does read every submitted essay.


Tell us who you are

The essay’s question of “Tell Us Who You Are,” is revealing in that each person has a bona fide gift.


The point: the person is the opportunity, not only the school.  


The school–whichever school–is a place to find other eagles, a think tank, diversity, challenges, opportunities. It’s incumbent upon each person, no matter what their IQ, to surround him or herself with motivated, hard working, inspiring, and talented people from which to learn and grow. Education is an important component of lifelong learning; so is desire. Reading is another aspect; experience is yet another.


The caliber/cache of person and university has gravity, however the person who is able to harness their natural curiosity to help others and self, will most certainly rise to the occasion. Do you believe a rising tide raises all ships? I do, and I’ve experienced this phenomenon in my life.

You vs. You

Everywhere I go in this lifetime, I take my curiosity with me and this mindset has fostered my growth and my ability to advance as a person. Competition is not against another; iI is with yourself. As a college student at Loyola University in Chicago, I made the very most of every opportunity to develop myself personally and professionally. Loyola was just right for me in that it was, and is, dedicated to maximizing its expertise and knowledge to encourage a diverse work environment that values service, excellence, stewardship, personal well-being, and personal development. We cannot help others if we are unable to help and manage ourselves. Furthermore, if we don’t cultivate and refine ourselves, we cannot begin to be competitive in the marketplace.


The Ivy’s, the Big Tens, the privates, the trade schools, the military schools, the small and the local community colleges each offer a vehicle to secure skills, instruction/training and knowledge for obtaining a good job and a good life, but it’s who we are and how we do what we do that truly gets us ahead.


The 10 golden rules for living the good life

A few years ago, Forbes contributor Panos Mourdoukoutas wrote a piece titled, The Ten Golden Rules on Living the Good Life, which addresses the subject of mastering one’s self, among other helpful applications. Mourdoukoutas begins his article reflecting on education:


“Examine life, engage life with vengeance; always search for new pleasures and new destines to reach with your mind.”


We must learn how to think, and school is a venue to teach us how to think — and hopefully, critically.


Let’s ponder Mourdoukoutas’ no doubt KEFI-inspired Golden Rules On Living the Good Life:


  1. Examine life

  2. Worry only about things that are in your control

  3. Treasure friendship

  4. Experience true pleasure not transient ones

  5. Master yourself

  6. Avoid excess

  7. Be a responsible human being

  8. Don’t be a prosperous fool: money is necessary, but not a condition for the good life

  9. Don’t do evil to others

  10. Kindness to others is a good habit that supports the quest for the good life.


A quest for knowledge and growth

As the deadline approaches for Marisa to narrow down her choice and select the prestigious university of her dreams, we remain proud and enthusiastic for this exceptional Greek-American young lady. For the rest, remember, the Ivy’s are not the only path to a bright future. While these institutions are the center of knowledge, it’s the quest for knowledge and growth that will powerfully impact you and your life advancement. Therefore, yes, you can have a bright and beautiful future without the privilege of attending the likes of Yale, providing you strive with positivity and curiosity, shine inside/out, work hard, and most importantly, persevere with an unflinching determination. Combine this KEFI formula with the desire to know where you are going and why you want to go there, and you’ll need sunglasses, because your future will be so bright!

Find more KEFI-inspired stories at

Other articles by Kiki Vale:

KEFI: Creativity and Passion Inspire Hellenistic Ethos

KEFI: 55th Wedding Anniversary – PERSEVERANCE

KEFI: The Theotokos – Most Holy Mother

Hippocrates had KEFI-: Essential Oils have KEFI

KEFI: Bucket List

KEFI: Wrestler

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