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Letter #12 from a Learn-it-all

4 min

Hello fellow learner,

Greetings from Grosse Pointe, Michigan!

Over these last few days, I had the opportunity to share some quality time with my college friends. Looking back, it feels like we did nothing. But it was the kind of nothing where you’re doing something.

We enjoyed playing games, chatting by the lake, reminiscing, running by the cornfields, cooking together, virtual wine tasting, HIIT workout, and a book club discussion. Overall, I am grateful to enjoy their company in this time of chaos we’ve had in 2020. It’s these weekends with friends that fly by as I am in the present moment. I am fortunate to get to better learn who my friends are.

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Here is letter #12 from a learn-it-all, enjoy!

Some things I’ve learned through…


I made my first ever homemade salsa. My friend Emily and I made the tropical salsa pictured below. It was a reminder of how much mixing fresh fruits and vegetables together can taste delectable. We winged the proportions of tomato, mango, pineapple, bell pepper, red onion, avocado, and spices— it surprisingly turned out. I am looking forward to making it again!


I wrote about how my values have shifted. Values are the deciding factors of what is important in life. They are the things that you believe are important in the way you live and work. When I was assigned to define these for school in 2018, I was confused. I turned in the assignment without thinking much about them. Since my transition to being in ‘the real world’ and navigating apart from school, there have been many new normals taking place. I’ve noticed gradual shifts in what is important for me.  These include:

Quantity of Relationships →  Quality Relationships

Outcome →  Process

Efficiency →  Effectiveness

Spontaneity →  Serendipity

Professional →  Authentic

Ideas →  Actions

Answers →  Questions

Talking → Listening

Understanding → Writing

You can read the rest of this post on my blog ➡️


I listened to Malcolm Gladwell on Revisionist History. In the 2-part episodes Puzzle Rush and the Tortoise and the Hare, Malcolm and his 24-year old assistant Camille both opt-in to a standardized test experiment by taking the LSAT. Gladwell gets coaches to help him get acclimated to the American testing system. Through this coaching, he learned that while being tested you have to unlearn how to read to understand, comprehend, or think and relearn it to test faster. There is no time for meandering thoughts on the 5 35-minute sections of the test.

He concluded that the LSAT is designed for hares. These are people who can process without understanding what they read. Yet, many successful lawyers come from schools apart from the T14  (Top 14 law schools). This is because the law schools actually need tortoises for the job where speed is taken out of the picture. Time-constrained testing has a bias for fast test takers. If there was no time limit, the schools would not be as competitive to get in because there would be higher test scores for the hares AND the tortoises.


I watched research professor Brené Brown give the commencement speech: Don’t be Afraid to Fall to her alma mater, the University of Texas at Austin. She shared how she was rejected twice before she got into college. In hindsight, Brown sees how those feelings of shame led her to her research on vulnerability. Nothing was wasted because her muscles were built to get back up again.

Some key takeaways are:

What starts here changes the world, but it will not be on your terms, and it will not be on your timeline. The world will not ready itself for our plans.
We have to be brave and be curious and dig into the feelings of a fall and that’s hard when you’re face-down. Emotional stoicism is not tough. Pretending that you don’t have feelings isn’t strength. Self-awareness is power. Acknowledging emotion and feeling doesn’t give emotion and feeling power. It gives you power. You own your emotions or they own you. You own your hurt or your hurt owns you and you end up taking it out on other people or you take it out on your own self-worth.
My falls have taught me a hundred times more about who I am than any of my achievements ever have ever could or ever will.
While every fall is different and every learning is new, I am not afraid to fall anymore, because I have built the skills to get back up.
I’ve learned more about being human, how we think, feel, and behave from bartending and waiting tables and my weird odd jobs than I ever could in a classroom. Not a minute of that time was wasted.

Word to define

Vulnerability: the quality or state of being exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally.

Brené Brown defines vulnerability as uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure.

Quote to inspire

“People, like lobsters, size each other up, partly in consequence of stance. If you present yourself as defeated, then people will react to you as if you are losing. If you start to straighten up, then people will look at and treat you differently.” — Jordan Peterson

Question to ponder

If you have a friend whose friendship you wouldn’t recommend to your loved one, why would you have such a friend for yourself?

I appreciate you reading this! If any of the ideas resonated or you have feedback to improve your experience, feel free to leave a comment, replying to this email, or sending me a DM on Twitter @JenVermet.

Never stop learning  😁

Until next week,


P.S. I was reminded of this great song from watching too much One Tree Hill and karaoke nights in college


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