The Talmudic Advantage

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You might think you will never do well in college. Think again. If you have made it this far in the world, then you probably endured years of yeshiva-style learning and know how to ask questions. Your questions dug so deep, that your bullshit radar exploded your brain. Now, you wonder if that is a strength or a weakness.

I found that no matter how little I tried, I was still 30% ahead of my college classmates. Somehow, this sharfa keppele (sharp mind) helped me beyond my wildest expectations. Here’s how it works:

The average American student goes through public school and is trained to memorize facts and pencil in the answers in the bubbles on their SAT’s. The average yeshiva bochur is trained to open up six different seforim (sacred books) and find a link between them all to prove whether Reuven or Shimon was guilty or not for a stealing a cow.

In college, the typical American student is confronted with a frightening prospect. They are asked to write an essay, and they are expected to use their critical thinking to prove a point. On the other hand, a nice Jewish (non-Satmar) girl will know very well how to argue until she proves a point and has her opinion heard. Use this talent to shine in college.

Writing might not come easily to you at first. Rest assured, your struggles will be minimal compared to everyone else in your class. When you visit the writing lab for help, you will realize that your grammar and spelling doesn’t suck as much as you through it does. You will learn how conveniently Microsoft Word will underline your errors and prompt you to fix them. You will see how easy it is for you to come up with an idea of what to write, and you will begin to have the courage to start writing. Allow the experts to guide you and help you make those ideas connect and flow.

When you get back that first paper with a big fat red “A” on top, you will want to hug your brain.