About Hermann Ebbinghaus's TheoryYou

Richard Ropelewski |

According to Wikipidea, Hermann Ebbinhaus was a psychologist who first described the concept of the learning curve.  The basic idea is the more often you do something the more proficient you get.  No offense to Hermann, but I’m not sure the theory of learning curves applies to the college search process.

Our daughter Molly completely drove and managed the college application process.  Every time we tried to offer a gentle suggestion she replied with, “I’ve already done that”.  Two years later every suggestion to our son Peter is met with “is that really necessary?”  After a college tour Molly would sit in the car for 20 minutes feverishly typing notes she would later reference in her application essay.  Ten minutes after a college tour Pete is sound asleep in the car.  Molly went to great lengths working on her college essays with countless revisions.  Getting Pete to focus on college essays for more than 15 minutes was only accomplished thanks to my wife’s limitless patience and some sort of witchcraft.  With Molly our role was more cheer leader, providing emotional support and home-made chocolate chip cookies to fuel late night essay writing.  With Pete there was no late-night essay writing, but he would still eat the cookies.

So the second trip down the learning curve is almost finished, but it was a completely different experience.  Everything we learned with Molly we could have thrown out the window.  So although we took a much different path, I am happy to report that progress is still being made.  Last week my wife walked by Pete’s room and overheard him in the middle of an admissions interview via Zoom.  He was asking detailed questions and providing cogent answers to the interview questions.  Maybe if we had 23 kids we would have started to figure this out.

The author of this article is Rick Ropelewski, Wealth Manager at U.S. Wealth Management.