Priorities in Studies - The Cucumber Glass Parable

  • Your studies are important.


    But what are your priorities in life? Is your studies in the first place with you?


    One thing is clear: Given the amount of tasks and challenges in life, choosing the right focus is not so easy! Maybe the success of your studies is the most important thing for you at the moment. But there may be other priorities for you. You probably have to work alongside your studies and you certainly want to spend time with your hobbies, friends and family.


    To reconcile everything is an art.


    In one of my very first lectures, the professor told us students a story. Only later did I check these guys out and find out that this was a well-known parable.


    Maybe it will help you to better understand your studies.


    The cucumber glass parable

    Our lecturer opened the lecture and said the following:


    Imagine, you have a big empty cucumber glass in front of you. In the cucumber glass to fill up a whole load of golf balls.

    Is the glass full?


    I figured if it was full now, he would not ask. Since I had no idea what would follow, I nodded as well as the others.


    As expected, the glass was not full yet. Because now he said:


    Suppose you also have pebbles with you and pour them to the golf balls in the cucumber glass. What would happen? Right, the pebbles fill the gaps left by the golf balls.

    Is the glass full now?


    Now I was convinced that the glass must be finally full. But, far from it!


    If you add a handful of sand, the last gaps will be filled.


    And of course he was right, if you now tilt sand on the cucumber glass with the golf ball and pebble mixture, this closes the tiny remaining gaps completely. Really complete?


    Now you have filled the glass. You get two cups of coffee in the glass but still guaranteed.


    With that, our professor completed his performance and hinted at how he poured two cups of coffee over the imaginary cucumber glass. Alternatively, would go beer, he admitted with a smile.


    Of course, we wanted to know what his story told us and what the whole thing should have to do with the topic of the lecture.


    He explained to us and said that the now filled cucumber glass symbolizes our current and future life. The biggest components, the golf balls, stand for the most important things in life: the study or the work? No, of course our families, our health and our closest friends. Just what makes us human.


    Only then come study and work in the form of pebbles, which after all represent the second largest unit in cucumber glass. The sand stands for other important but subordinate things, e.g. our possessions, which we have to take care of. Because, if the car breaks down, because we did not care about the maintenance, it gets expensive and uncomfortable.


    But what about the coffee? The coffee is there to show us that no matter what happens and how stressful it is, we should always take time for a coffee with our dearest people.


    What does the cucumber glass parable tell us about priorities in your studies?

    Now, of course, you might burst into jubilation and think, "Great, finally, I have a justification for neglecting lectures, seminars and exams, and instead doing things that are a lot more fun. Thank you, cucumber glass parable! "


    But that would be nonsense. With this example, I want to show you that you should not be on trifles. Focus on the critical aspects of your studies and focus on successfully implementing your priorities.


    These can be for example:


    • To fulfill the compulsory attendance in a seminar
    • Do not waste time in unnecessary lectures
    • Finally complete the internship report
    • An ungraded exam simply "only" exist
    • To complete an important and effective exam really well
    • Get your best performance in a thesis

    Keep track of your studies and use your time and energy properly. Distinguish important things from unimportant, set priorities and do not rot.


    After all, there are people and things in your life that are more important than the pure success of your studies. Take your time whenever possible. I know that will not work out at every stage of your studies. And that's okay too. After all, you also study for your future.


    Just do not lose yourself in trivialities, but set wise priorities!


    But now you are asked: Do you have time for other beautiful things besides studying? What are your golf balls?