It’s Commencement Day at Hofstra University and hundreds of colleges and universities across America. I’ve worked in higher education for 14 years and I’ve never missed a ceremony because for me, it’s what our work is all about: seeing first-hand the joy, pride and sense of accomplishment our students feel as they graduate.
In the weeks leading up to this day, I also saw first-hand the fear in our seniors. For the first time in their lives, they don’t know where they’re going to be next September. I peppered my classroom chats with words of encouragement, offering advice and even comfort as the semester wound down. Through our various public relations projects and our big PRSSA conference, I had become close to many of my students, and I’ve been sharing feelings of genuine sadness with my colleagues about saying goodbye. I only hope they’ll stay in touch via social media and email, so we can see how well they’re doing. We want to invite them back to share their professional experiences with our future PR students, just as so many alumni have done before.
John Lennon famously said, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” I’ve suggested to my students that they can–and should–be making plans in the days and weeks ahead as they find their way in the world. You really can’t predict what’ll be next for you; you can only point yourself in a certain direction and add persistence and hope. And most of all, you should enjoy the ride. Your thoughts?