A Talentless Student

Hello and welcome to Imperial University!

Here at Imperial, we only accept the best of the best -- students who have shown their worth in their respective fields. All of you are here because you have proven yourselves worthy, whether that be in academics, athletics, art, or something else entirely! Our motto fits the school perfectly: "May the best person prevail!"

Our guide was a shabby young man in his Junior year and was wearing a loose-fitting shirt and jeans. His hair was thick and hung over his eyes, obscuring most of his face. Even so, he spoke loud enough for everyone to hear and managed to get through his script without stumbling.

As we began walking through the university campus, it became clear how different this school was compared to everywhere else. White spires stretched into the sky, spotted with oval windows, through which professors lectured or researchers conducted experiments. The pathway was paved in clean, red brick and was lined with a variety of flowering plants. The guide suddenly stopped in front of one building in particular, which had a series of equations painted on the side.

This is the physics department. We have managed to hire several Nobel laureates from almost every sub-discipline: quantum, thermodynamics, optics, classical mechanics, etc. Imperial University provides an education that cannot be beaten anywhere else in the world.

While he was talking, an older man walked out of the building. His face was twisted into a deep frown and he was obviously lost in thought. As he looked up, he lit up and called to our guide, "Steve, my boy! How are you today!" He then rushed towards us and slapped the guide on the shoulder before saying, "It's been ages since you came to lab! How is everything going?"

Steve laughed a bit and told the man he was showing some potential students around campus. The man nodded slightly before addressing us, "Steve here is a fine young student. You are in good hands! If any of you are half the student he is, you will do fine here!"

The man then slapped our guide's shoulder once more before walking off, whistling a tune as he did so. Steve then addressed us again,

That was Dr. Grubbin, he has been awarded the Nobel prize in both Chemistry and Physics. He is super nice, although he tends to lose himself in thought a bit.

Don't worry, we'll meet more of Imperial University's staff throughout the tour!

As we continued through campus, we saw state-of-the-art facilities like electron microscopes and vacuum chambers. We saw some of the best-selling authors for fantasy and science fiction. We even caught a few students building a drone for an analogue electronics project.

No matter what we saw, Steve explained everything with conviction. He seemed to deeply understand physics, literature, engineering, and business, and every time we visited another department, a professor or student stopped by to chat, only to turn to us and say something about how amazing Steve truly was.

After 2 hours or walking around, we found ourselves in a cafeteria filled with a variety of different restaurants.

Well, it is noon, and I am sure a lot of you are hungry. The cafeteria has some of the finest dining locations around, and is absolutely free for students.

Before you go, I would like to thank you for being such an amazing group. It was a privilege to meet you and I hope to see some of you in the Fall!

Of course, if you have any last questions, please ask now.

I tentatively raised my hand before asking, "Steve, you seem to be good at everything. What was your initial talent? Why were you invited in the first place?"

For the first time, Steve appeared visibly shaken and sighed a bit before quietly continuing, as if divulging a secret he did not want to be publicly known.

I don't have a talent.

In high school, my grades were mediocre. I was never the fastest runner or the best player on a team. I did everything I could to keep up with everyone else.

I was recruited for a different reason than any of you.

See, one day I was running late for school, but noticed an old man with a flat tire. Without thinking, I stopped to help him fix it. As I did so, we got to talking and I found out he was a prominent member of the Imperial Board that runs this university.

Everyone knows Imperial University only accepts the best of the best, so I said, "I wish I was good enough to get in there!"

He then looked at me and said, "Don't worry. You'll get in."

I am not here because I am the best at anything in particular. I'm here because I lent a helping hand to someone in need.

That's why I've been working hard every day to catch up to everyone here. I have been to every department and spoken to every professor. I have dabbled in every subject.

I am not here because I am one of the best. I am here because I am trying to be the best I can.

In the end, no matter how much talent you have, you will never improve without working hard and building a community to facilitate your own growth. When you surround yourself with talented people, you become talented, yourself.

Prompt: You got enrolled to the most prestigious school in the world. Every student has an amazing talent and are adored across the world. The only problem is, you have no special talent at all.

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