This weekend I found myself sitting in a chair on the third floor balcony of the performance theater at High Point University, my dream college. I was in perfect view of both the president of the university, Nido Qubein, as well as the crystal chandelier hanging within view. It was a sight to see, let me tell you. I was there for the annual Presidential Scholarship Weekend, two days dedicated to interviewing all the eligible candidates for additional scholarship and because dream colleges aren’t often on the clearance rack, I was making my best attempt to put my best foot forward. I had the blazer, the belt, the school colors, and my official name tag pinned to my collar. I was in it to win it.
As I was listening to the president’s introduction to the university and his drive to inspire the upcoming freshman class (of which I am a member), he created an analogy I will never forget and decided to share with you.
He held out a bag of Hershey kisses, asking us to guess the price of the 1lb pack of silver drops. After a few guesses, the right answer, $4.00, was announced. He tossed the bag between his hands, and set it down. He then picks up a gold box I recognized from the third floor. The ribbon was wrapped around the right side and the brand “Godiva” was stamped into the shimmering top. It seemed to be glowing under the stage lights. Qubein said “This is also one pound of chocolate. I want just the guys in the room to guess the price of this.” I heard shouts of $10 and $20 but Qubein just laughed and accused them of never having girlfriends before. He said, “This box of delicately wrapped chocolate is worth $40! That’s ten times the price of that big bag of kisses over there! The same weight. The same chocolate. But what makes this brand so much more expensive than that brand? You want to know the difference?” He paused, building up the dramatic effect as each of us sent our brains running for the answer before he could say it. “This bag of kisses was dripped from a machine and wrapped in small squares of foil by a machine and stuffed in a plastic bag and shipped to your nearest Walmart.” He paused held up the golden box, drawing in our curiosity with each of his words. He lifted the Godiva and said, “This box contains chocolate that was hand-crafted in Belgium by a chocolatier wearing a nice white uniform breaking the chocolate bars into small pieces and delicately placing them in their own luxurious home inside this metallic trophy.” His description of the Godiva had each of us on the edge of our seats. “The difference is you buy the kisses to eat on the way home….but you buy the Godiva to give away. You give Godiva to the ones you love. It even comes already wrapped in gold with a ribbon, waiting for the special occasion. The kisses come in a plastic wrapping that can be tossed and shuffled with no problem. The kisses are put on someone’s desk as a small treat while the Godiva is placed in the bottom left-hand drawer to be eaten on special occasions.”
He continued by saying the Godiva is worth ten times the Hershey because it’s much more than the content. The Godiva is wrapped in beauty and elegance, delicately packaged into a gift. It’s not really about the chocolate itself, but rather the process and the elegance of the Godiva brand that is so coveted. Qubein held them both in his hands, comparing them, and looked at us to say, “You get to decide which kind of student you want to be. You can be a student focused solely on the content of knowledge and facts, in which you can find success. Or you can be a cultured, elegant, poised, balanced, and reflective student that contains the same knowledge but is wrapped in a coveted package that very few get to experience.”
I sat back in my seat and realized I want to be the Godiva. This analogy inspired me to be more than a student, but a scholar, someone who doesn’t just have a stack of facts but a beautifully packaged knowledge of culture and understanding. This analogy ran through my head all day as I thought about my college choice and not only where I want to be but also who I want to be in four years. After I discussed this with my parents, I walked upstairs that night and found a Godiva chocolate bar on my pillow. (On a side note, can I just say my parents are awesome!) I realized that, just going with the idea of giving luxury away, my parents are giving me an academic luxury I could never be more grateful for. They’re signing the papers and giving me the ‘ok’ to receive my own Godiva box and packaging and jump into an experience I could never imagine.
During this weekend I learned that 1) I will never look at Hershey kisses the same. 2) Godiva chocolate might actually be worth $40, and that’s coming from a discount shopper. 3) There’s more to being a student than learning facts. It’s about pursuit and passion and life and culture too. And 4) my parents might actually be cool. (But only sometimes).