Dartmouth Presidential Lectures: President Kim on taking responsible risks

Uploaded by Dartmouth on 30.07.2010

Carol Folt: What important risks should we as students be taking?
President Kim: The most important risk is to really put yourself outside of your comfort
zone. One of the things I was talking about just today with Professor Heatherton is that
sometimes, of the four qualities, the third one is the ability to understand threat. Sometimes
students that quality is heightened overly. You think that if you have a bad hair day,
that everyone will notice. If you do something a little bit different from other people,
that other people will notice. I think it’s really important to do things like take courses
outside of your comfort zone.
One of the areas that I have been looking at with Brian Kennedy and Jeff James here
in the Hopkins Center and Brian of the Hood Museum, is the importance of the Arts in developing
intellectual capacity. When I looked at that information, I was blown away. For example,
learning to play the piano when you’re four is correlated with being better at conflict
resolution when you’re six. There are parts of your brain that light up simultaneously
when you’re listening to music that don’t light up simultaneously in other situations.
There’s something about the Arts that’s really important.
For me, one of the things that I’ve been intending to do and I am still intending to
do it, is to begin exploring music and art more myself. Personally, I never did. I thought
the ability to draw was a fixed trait. I tell you I thought that up until last year, when
I saw people who were in a drawing class for the very first time do beautiful work. So
for the sake of your mind, take the kinds of risks that put you into uncomfortable areas,
that put you into areas that really make you almost feel your neurons being remade. Those
are great risks.