I hope that your student gets through finals in good shape. With the wrap up of the year, there are some things I want to share with you.
- If your student is taking a class at another campus this summer, make sure that he/she requests the grades be transferred back to WVU. He/she should do this after the course is completed. This is especially critical for math classes.
- Ask your students to check their mix accounts often over the summer. Various people will be communicating to them via their email account.
I want to give you some thoughts in this email that I present in a sophomore class that I teach. In the sophomore year, students are really getting serious in thinking about a career. I don’t cover this with our freshmen because I’m not sure that most of them can connect with what I am talking about. If you feel these thoughts are helpful, you may want to save them for future discussions with your student.
- Career Concept 1: Build on your strengths but stretch yourself in areas of weakness: Too many students try to avoid things where they are weak. Very few people can run away from these weaknesses. College is the best place to challenge these weaknesses.
- Career Concept 2: Don’t limit your choices until you have tried them: I encounter a number of students who have made up their mind about what they don’t want to do based upon almost no experience. Now’s the time to try out different things.
- Career Concept 3: Make the most of moments of opportunity: The challenge is that most moments of opportunity aren’t obvious at the time they occur. My advice to students is to approach every new situation they encounter as a potentially career shaping moment of opportunity.
- Career Concept 4: Create your own job: Every organization will allow considerable freedom to top performers to create their own job. But they have to take the initiative. I’ve never known graduates to be bored with their career when they create their own job.
- Career Concept 5: Learn something from everything you do: A common mistake that many students (and adults) make is to view a task as something to do but not something to learn from. When you view every task as a learning opportunity, it changes the perspective on the task.
- Career Concept 6: Develop passions: I believe that all of us need to have passions to sustain us. I find this generation of students reluctant to develop a passion. They don’t like to commit to anything, but they will need to develop a passion if they are to be successful.
- Career Concept 7: Look at the trends not the current realities: It’s easy at times for our young people to get discouraged. They get discouraged by set backs. They don’t see the progress they are making. I tell my students that the best baseball team in any year will lose 60 games. Students have to learn how to take the larger view.
- Career Concept 8: Have faith that things will work out: I often get calls from our graduates early into their careers. They are experiencing tough times. I’ll try to help them, but I tell them that they have to believe everything will work out fine. That’s hard for many young people, but things will work out for them if they make the effort to succeed.
I hope these thoughts are useful to you. Your student may not value them at this time, but I think there will come a time when each of these will be meaningful.
This week I would like to share with you some of my reflections of this year’s freshman class. First they are respectful. Daily I’ll see students doing something that would make you proud. Some of them have had to work through some very tough personal problems including the suicide of a best friend, a mother waiting for a kidney transplant, a brother being arrested for armed robbery, and death of a sibling. They have really grown up in just nine months. I can’t believe the difference I see in our students. They have gone from the carefree days of high school to thinking of themselves as a professional in just a short period of time. They have discovered the challenges of being a responsible adult. I’ve spent a lot of time this semester with students who didn’t do well last semester. In most cases, I’ve seen a tremendous change in their concept of who they are.
I’ve always admired engineers who worked on deep space probes because many of them would never know if their efforts would work since the results wouldn’t be known for years into the future. I now face the same situation. I’ll probably never know whether my efforts translate into career success for the students I teach today. But that hasn’t affected my efforts in doing the best that I can. It has been a joy working with this year’s class.
There will be one final email next week. I’ve really enjoyed the notes that many of you have sent. Thanks