Affinity and Beyond – Episode 41

Brianna was really puzzled by the next disappointment name that Henry had given her. A quick Google search of April showed very impressive achievements. She was looking forward to finding out more about her.

April had come to the foundation through a referral from child protective services. Both parents were addicted to drugs. What made April’s case interesting was that both parents were in high-paying professions. Apparently they had lost their way, and April was a casualty.

While at Henry’s foundation, April was a role model for other younger residents. She had a natural talent for teaching and became a tutor for those who struggled.

April chose to go to college and major in Chemistry. She was able to earn a Ph.D. in her major and received an appointment at a major land-grant university.

Early on in April’s career, she won a number of teaching awards. Chemistry was thought to be a weed out course for many STEM majors. But April took the introductory chemistry course from being a hurdle to a gateway course for students. She was able to refocus the learning process.

When Brianna tried to setup an interview with April, she found it difficult to find a date. April had a very busy out-of-town schedule speaking at conferences or advising other universities on teaching strategies. When she was on campus, she seemed to have a full schedule of meetings. Brianna began to wonder how often she showed up in class.

When she looked up April on the Rate My Professor website, her suspicions were confirmed. The prevalent comment theme was that April rarely taught her classes. Her teaching assistants did almost all of the teaching.

When Brianna finally did get an interview, all that April wanted to talk about was how she was transforming chemistry education. Her ego was off-putting.

Brianna saw a new dimension of the dark side of talent. April had lost her focus. Her talent had led to fame, and her fame became addictive. Brianna began to wonder how one could avoid the trap of a talent/fame addiction.

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“A life without fame can be a good life, but fame without a life is no life at all.”
– Clive James

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