I wondered if there was something distinctive about myself that brought me to where I'm at today. Hard to believe, but a broken wrist way back in 1956 could well be why I rate my life as successful enough.
1906 build the first hydroelectric facility (3 MW) on Kauai, I never met him, for he died two months before the power plant was dedicated from a workplace accident. Here I am 110 years later, with his system still producing 3 MW.
- Reading a 14-minute guide on How to Get into Stanford. Read it. Absolutely.
- There is a 2013 article from the Stanford alumni magazine. Don't read it. You'll almost surely get scared off. For example:
- The school now requires three sections of SATs, where perfect for all three adds up to 2400.
- 69% of those who scored 2400 DID NOT get accepted.
- They showed these graphs:
2018 Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia was listed as #1 at 4.9%, while Stanford was #2 with 5.1% and Harvard #3 6%. I found it interesting that Alice Lloyd College in Kentucky was #6 (7.1%), College of Ozarks in Missouri #19 (8.3%) and...at #13, my Californian Institute of Technology at 8.8%. Oh, the total cost at Stanford is now $62,363/year.
Other bits of Stanford info. Can't seem to find any confirmation, but in 1958 when I became a freshman, there might have been zero black students, and I did not make one friend in my class who was Japanese. Maybe I was it. The term Hispanic did not enter my vocabulary. Today: Asian (23%), Hispanic (15%) and Black (10%). This publication indicated:
- the cost was $66,696/year,
- 16,000 students and 12,000 academic staff/support
- 20 Nobel Laureates on campus
- 13,000 bicycles
- free system of 86 buses and 27 routes, with links to Caltrain and Palo Alto
- has won the Director's Cup (making it the top NCAA athletic program in the nation) for 22 straight years
She and science teacher Sueko Hirokowa deserve a good part of the credit for showing me the way. Mrs. Kosaki, incidentally, quit teaching after my class, and much later went on to join the board of Hawaiian Electric Company. Her husband, Richard, established the University of Hawaii community college system.
Crushed? Of course. Any normal person would have rightfully given up and abandon Plan A. What was my recovering solution? I had none. Never once did I give any thought of trying to improve that score. It would have been impossible anyway. I grew up in Kakaako.
- I had friends on the tennis team. They lacked one more player to cover all their 8 slots necessary to field a team. I had never played the game before. For a two-year period that began late in my sophomore year I played 750 out of 753 days in a row. No doubt this says something about me. By the time the season came, I was third singles, and am guessing that my high school record was 90% wins, with victories against Punahou, Iolani, Kamehameha, Mid-Pacific and Iolani. But college application experts don't know that third singles means you're the fifth-best player on the team (first doubles composed of #3 and #4), and by the time private schools get to their #5, he is not on scholarship. In trying to get into a top university, some kind of classy athletic competence helps.
- I had never run for any kind of officer in my life. How this came to be must have been some kind of fluke (and the reason had nothing to do about a college application), but one day I found my name on the ballot for Vice President of the Senior Class. I eked out a victory, which could well have been the main reason why Stanford accepted me. They thought they had a leader. This is important. Show some political skills in your application. I never ran again, for anything, ever.
- One bit of luck: all three opponents were female, and the prohibitive favorite a few years later became Narcissus Queen.
- Second bit of luck: I was playing intramural basketball, went up for a lay-up, got roughly fouled, fell, and broke my wrist. People recognized me as the one with the cast. Poor guy. Let's vote for him. I took a cute photo for my final campaign poster showing me and the cast.
- After the junior year during those Kakaako days, we were expected to toil in one of the pineapple canneries. I couldn't (go back to broken wrist) so decided to memorize all those words in the Scholastic Aptitude Test book. Thus, in my senior year I scored about perfect in math and somewhere in the higher 600's in verbal to make the 90th percentile. In my case, it was not like I was driven by the need to get into Stanford. Simply, I had nothing better to do because of my broken wrist.
Thinking back to the mid-1950's, I cannot imagine why I would only apply to Caltech and Stanford. From what I know now, that was clearly foolhardy, if not idiotic.
Then, once I got there, to take more art than chemical engineering (my major) classes. Why? I'd like to think that I was building a foundation of thinking out of the box. The reality was that those ChE courses were a pain and art courses were fun. So much so that after I got my initial degree, I seriously thought about heading for Sophia University in Tokyo to become an artist. Good thing my mind actually has the power to say no. It drew the line there and kept me on my engineering pathway.