Sunday, May 16, 2010

Your Career and You...Graduation Is Just the Beginning of the Adventure

I have just completed what was, for me, a marathon weekend of back-to-back commencement ceremonies at Regis College, where I'm an adjunct professor teaching graduate courses in Conflict Management and Health Communication Management, and Curry College, where I'm full-time (soon-to-be) Associate Professor of Communication teaching the bulk of the Public Relations courses and finetuning the PR concentration.

As I've noted numerous times on my Facebook page as well as Twitter and LinkedIn, I truly am honored to have been able to play a small role in the professional development of the hardworking men and women who have passed through one or more of my classes either at Regis or at Curry.

Why? Because I loved what I did as a public relations professional for more than a quarter of a century, and I love what I'm doing now...sharing my knowledge, experience, wisdom, and cautions with the next generation of PR professionals. They are our future, and we owe it to that future to prepare its leaders to continue building on our own successes... and making their own.

I close out this semester and this academic year filled with hope and optimism. There are some amazing future professionals (in the case of my undergrad students at Curry) and rising professionals (my grad students at Regis) on the threshhold eager to prove their abilities both to us and to themselves. And they will. Of that I am confident.

But a note of caution to each and every one of these newly-minted graduates.

You will have to earn your stripes as we used to say (they probably still say) in the Air Force and demonstrate your capabilities time and again. But, for me, that's the excitement of professional life. I know in my heart that I am good at what I do; but I have to prove myself every day to someone.

You'll have to do the same. Accept it as part of the get to do what you're passionate about, but not everyone is going to automatically say "Oh, okay. You're the expert." Every day will bring new challenges, new opportunities, and new knowledge of your own strengths...and weaknesses.

Build on your strengths; overcome your weaknesses. Live your passion!

Because, if you press on and continue to build your credibility, you will be recognized more and more for your talents and your expertise. There still will be doubters out there, but they will become the minority.

One of the Regis College commencement speakers, Lydia Villa-Komaroff, PhD, gave an incredibly insightful speech about overcoming challenges as she progressed upwards in her profession as an internationally recognized molecular biologist.

One observation in particular resonated, and I close with her quote:  "Nobody will give you anything you don't deserve."

You've proven your abilities by earning either a graduate or an undergraduate degree. Now show that you deserve the recognition and the success borne of your contributions to your chosen profession, whether it be public relations, nursing...molecular biology.

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