Just this past Saturday I had the privilege and pleasure to return to my alma mater (go Salve!) and serve as an alum panelist for the university’s “English Major Career Day.” It had been a little over two years since I’d driven by Newport’s beautiful Cliff Walk and onto the gilded campus. My role as an alum was to address students who, just a few years younger than I, are actively seeking internships and future employment within their field.
Fortunately, the students asked great questions, had interesting stories to tell of their own and really looked up to the panelists who were there to share their journey’s, no matter how fragmented or complicated they may have been. For the students, we were a realistic example of how our education has helped serve us along the way. And believe me, I had my doubting moments. Overall, it felt good to share my story. And it felt good to hear about the paths some of my colleagues were taking. As I sat next to a development manager, copywriter, reporter and many other talented individuals, I truly felt appreciative of everything I learned and gained within my four college years. And, I learned a lot too. I learned that not everybody knows what they’re meant to do before they do it, that feeling lost is the only thing you want to feel when figuring yourself out. I learned that for every single passion out there, a job lies beside it. It may not always fall in our laps but if we pursue it, we can have it.
Initially, I was wondering, how can I help? What advice can I offer these students that they haven’t already heard? And as cliché as it may be, I urged them to never think they can’t do something just because it’s difficult, or because they think they lack the skills. Every day is a learning curve and every moment an experience.
One piece of advice that has really resonated with me, a phrase garnered by my very intelligent, very motivated father, is one I say to myself day in and day out: “Nobody owes you a life you owe yourself.”
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