I teach high school students to develop resumes and interviewing skills daily, and I know first hand what the Harvard University Turning the Tide initiative inspires. I have had multiple students ask me if we can “make up stuff” when they sense there may be a gap in their achievements. This sentiment makes me stop everything and make clear that the most important message of all is honesty trumps and that you should never ever lie on your resume because it will haunt you. A reputation for resume lying is almost impossible to rectify.
A former professional client was applying for a job at an Ivy League University. She desperately wanted the job. However, for years she had lied that she was a graduate of said school. It was a hard story to tell and only a sincere admission and apology could potentially over come the lie. It was no surprise to me that her admission (no pun intended) fell flat.
When working with students, I start by asking them to indulge the method of my madness. I ask a lot of questions to identify things that inspire smiles and singing. Frequently, they are unable to articulate anything. So tapped out, some want to call mom or look to Google for answers. It does not mean that “it” is not there. I have yet to meet one who does not have “It.” “It” means that they have neither tapped in nor indulged the critical thinking and self reflection that is the Venn diagram of their interests and passions. You should see their faces and empowered hearts when we collaboratively identify “it.” “It” makes my heart sing and puts a smile on my face when I hit the pillow at night. They identify “it” and learn to have a collaborative conversation in the process.
The Harvard initiative is a much needed admissions cultural and value system self-correction toward tapping into the conversation that builds critical self-awareness, self-respect and empathy. This is “it.”