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Ryan Linkul '08 Speaks to Form I


Computer Science teacher Andrew Erker ’11 continued his alumni presentation program by inviting Ryan Linkul ’08 to speak to Priory’s 7th grade computer science classes in the Kevin Kline Theatre on Friday, March 3. Ryan offered his personal history and a few fun photos from his time as a Priory student before diving into the topics of his presentation: success, failure, and confronting reality.

He began by showing three riddles, and challenging the students to quickly answer them (we’ll include the answers at the bottom!).

  1. A bat and a ball together cost $1.10 in total. The bat costs a dollar more than the ball. How much does the ball cost?
  2. If it takes 5 machines 5 minutes to make 5 widgets, how long would it take 100 machines to make 100 widgets?
  3. In a lake, there is a patch of lily pads. Every day, the patch doubles in size. If it takes 48 days for the patch to cover the entire lake, how long would it take for the patch to cover half the lake?

The boys scribbled furiously on slips of paper, before handing them in to Mr. Erker for grading. Ryan then showed them statistics on how college students performed when asked the same questions. The goal of this exercise was to show how it’s important to dig deep into life’s questions, and not just go for what seems to be “the easy answer.” All of the problems Ryan presented are easy to work out with a little thought, although most students (and the author of this article) answered them incorrectly due to not taking the time and care to really think them through.

Ryan quoted Mark Twain, “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.” He encouraged the students to always challenge what they learn, and to especially challenge what they already feel they know. He also taught that misjudgment is prevalent, and that we all suffer from what’s known as recency bias: we expect what’s happening now to continue on. We tend to bypass natural logic, and are over-influenced by authority. Ryan used examples of people who consistently thought differently and challenged what they were told or what they knew to be true, including Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. He also talked about the failure these incredibly successful people experienced, and how they turned failure into resilience, an engine to drive continual change and improvement. Ryan told the powerful story of his own failures – he founded two companies, neither of which exists today – and how he uses those experiences to reflect and improve who he is and what he does.

He stressed to students that they should always be students, even after they graduate from college, and encouraged them to always be “amateurs” who confront reality and are comfortable with failure and the lessons that can be derived from it. He spoke about how pain plus reflection equals progress. He said, “I believe that life consists of an enormous number of choices that come at us and that each decision has consequences, so the quality of our lives depends on the quality of the decisions we make.” He even quoted Father Michael Brunner, O.S.B.: “We are formed by what we do.”

Ryan finished his presentation with words of advice:

  • Be a continual student.
  • Ask why…
  • Code something for fun.
  • Enjoy your time at Priory

Ryan Linkul grew up in Glendale and attended Mary Queen of Peace before Priory. He graduated from Priory in 2008 and attended Emory University in Atlanta, Ga., earning a B.B.A. with a triple major of Finance, Accounting, and Information Systems and Operations Management. After Emory, he founded Linkul Value Management, LLC. He now works as an investment analyst for ACR Alpine Capital Research, LLC. He has a younger brother, Colin, who graduated from Priory in 2011 and attended West Point.

Many thanks to Ryan for spending time with the Priory 7th grade computer science classes!

Answers to Ryan’s pop quiz:
5 cents
5 minutes
47 days

“Listen carefully, my son, to the master’s instructions, and attend to them with the ear of your heart.”

Prologue, 1

“This is advice from a father who loves you; welcome it, and faithfully put it into practice.”

Prologue, 1

“First of all, every time you begin a good work, you must pray to him most earnestly to bring it to perfection.”

Prologue, 4

“If you desire true and eternal life, keep your tongue free from vicious talk and your lips from all deceit; turn away from evil and do good; let peace be your quest and aim. (Ps 33[34]:13)”

Prologue, 17

“Clothed then with faith and the performance of good works, let us set out on this way, with the Gospel for our guide, that we may deserve to see him who has called us to his kingdom (1 Thess 2:12).”

Prologue, 21

“If we wish to dwell in the tent of this kingdom, we will never arrive unless we run there by doing good deeds.”

Prologue, 22

“What is not possible to us by nature, let us ask the Lord to supply by the help of his grace.”

Prologue, 41

“Therefore, we intend to establish a school for the Lord’s service.”

Prologue, 45

“The good of all concerned, however, may prompt us to a little strictness in order to amend faults and to safeguard love.”

Prologue, 47

“The reason why we have said all should be called for counsel is that the Lord often reveals what is better to the younger.”

Chapter 3, 3

“Your way of acting should be different from the world’s way; the love of Christ must come before all else.”

Chapter 4, 20-21

“Never give a hollow greeting of peace or turn away when someone needs your love.” –Chapter 4, 25-26

“Bind yourself to no oath lest it prove false, but speak the truth with heart and tongue.”

Chapter 4, 27-28

“Place your hope in God alone.”

Chapter 4, 41

“Respect the elders and love the young.”

Chapter 4, 70-71

“Pray for your enemies out of love for Christ. “

Chapter 4, 72

“If you have a dispute with someone, make peace with him before the sun goes down.”

Chapter 4, 73

“The first step of humility is unhesitating obedience, which comes naturally to those who cherish Christ above all.”

Chapter 5, 1-2

“Speaking and teaching are the master’s task; the disciple is to be silent and listen.”

Chapter 6, 6

“The first step of humility, then, is that a man keeps the fear of God always before his eyes (PS 35[36]:2) and never forgets it.”

Chapter 7, 10

“Let us consider, then, how we ought to behave in the presence of God and his angels, and let us stand to sing the psalms in such a way that our minds are in harmony with our voices.”

Chapter 19, 6-7

“On arising for the Work of God, they will quietly encourage each other, for the sleepy like to make excuses.”

Chapter 22, 8

“Every age and level of understanding should receive appropriate treatment.”

Chapter 30, 1

“Above all, let him be humble. If goods are not available to meet a request, he will offer a kind word in reply, for it is written: A kind word is better than the best gift (Sir 18:17).”

Chapter 31, 13-14

“Let all the rest serve one another in love.”

Chapter 35, 6

“Indeed, nothing is to be preferred to the Work of God.”

Chapter 43, 3

“Idleness is the enemy of the soul. Therefore, the brothers should have specified periods for manual labor as well as for prayerful reading.”

Chapter 48, 1

“The life of a monk ought to be a continuous Lent.”

Chapter 49, 1

“All guests who present themselves are to be welcomed as Christ, for he himself will say: I was a stranger and you welcomed me (Matt 25:35).”

Chapter 53, 1

“Proper honor must be shown to all, especially to those who share our faith (Gal 6:10) and to pilgrims.”

Chapter 53, 2

“(B)ecause wherever we may be, we are in the service of the same Lord and doing battle for the same King.”

Chapter 61, 10

They should each try to be the first to show respect to the other (Rom 12:10).”

Chapter 63, 17

“We wish this rule to be read often in the community, so that none of the brothers can offer the excuse of ignorance.”

Chapter 66, 8

“Trusting in God’s help, he must in love obey.”

Chapter 68, 5

Never to do another what you do not want done to yourself (Tob 4:16).”

Chapter 70, 7

“No one is to pursue what he judges better for himself, but instead, what he judges better for someone else.”

Chapter 72, 7

“Let them prefer nothing whatever to Christ, and may he bring us all together to everlasting life.”

Chapter 72, 11-12

“What page, what passage of the inspired books of the Old and New Testaments is not the truest of guides for human life?”

Chapter 73, 3

“What book of the holy catholic Fathers does not resoundingly summon us along the true way to reach the Creator?”

Chapter 73, 4


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