Informant: My informant, M.A., is 18 and was born and raised in Greenwich, Connecticut. M.A. parents both work as corporate lawyers and he hopes to pursue the same career. M.A. is also a practicing Catholic and is strongly connected to his religion. He has one brother and two sisters with the family being almost fully Americanized but still hold on to some of his Syrian heritage.

Folklore: “I took a Psychology class in high school, and my professor was known to post one short, open ended question for the class to analyze and write a minimum of 10 pages in a blue book that would be worth. When the class showed up to take the final, the professor gets up and writes down one word on the board. ‘Why?’ Immediately, all of the students start writing frantically listing different theories or concepts and citing famous psychologists throughout history. However, there was one student who wrote down two words, got up and turned in his book, and left the class. The other students were confused and curious as to what he wrote down that would decide the fate of his grade. Later, when everyone was getting their grade back they found out that the student wrote down the simple phrase, ‘Why not?’ and received the only “A” on the final. M.A. was told this story from his father multiple times when growing up. His dad told him the message to take away from the story is to be confident in what you believe in regardless of what everyone else is doing and if you want to win big you have to be willing to risk big.

Analysis: I like this story and it reminds me of a story my dad would tell me. The story is meant to show that anyone who has ever done anything great usually had to take at least one or more huge chances at some point in their career. If you want to get remembered you have to be bold enough to risk everything.

For more information on this story, see http://www.snopes.com/college/exam/oneword.asp