Questions were asked; minds were stretched;
and the real world came to campus.
During my undergraduate college years, a sociology professor (Norman Pollock) introduced me to the concept of “psychic wages.” These are non-monetary benefits we derive from an action. Rather than a financial payoff, a psychic wage rewards us emotionally. While teaching has its share of challenges, it provides such “wages” on a fairly regular basis. It’s one of our perks; it fuels the professional passion. This week I was fortunate to enjoy “payment” on three different occasions.
Three former students came to my classes to share experiences about college majors and careers. Actually, they “came” via Skype. With the help of technology in my Florida State College at Jacksonville classroom, Kim, Rochelle, and Jessica appeared on the big screen. Students listened to their wisdom and strategies. Questions were asked; minds were stretched; and the real world came to campus.
Kim and Rochelle were students of mine at Stanton College Preparatory School back in the 1980s. Kim was a precocious ninth-grade economics and government student who had a passion for ballet dancing. Rochelle livened up my sociology and psychology classes during her junior year of high school. She was (and still is) intellectually sharp and possessed a quick wit. She kept me on my toes! Jessica, following a stint with the Marines, was a student of mine at then Florida Community College at Jacksonville. (We shared the stage one night when she got the opportunity to question CNN’s Roland Martin who was appearing in a lecture series.)
Kim told the students how and why she went from being a globe-trotting engineer for nearly a dozen years to a business owner. Rochelle shared a similar tale of being trained in wildlife ecology—and then years later taking a different road into the business world. Jessica, currently a student at the University of Maryland spoke of how she chose UM for her studies—and lessons she has learned navigating a four-year university.
Interestingly (but not surprisingly), the three ladies in their own way repeated a theme: the need to identify and nurture your passion in life and for life. They spoke with sincerity; with credibility; and the belief that we can all find our own voice in this world. We just have to listen to ourselves.
Here are a couple of takeaways from my virtual time with three powerful young ladies:
- Job from heaven v. job from hell. List three things from past jobs you really loved. Now, list three things from past jobs you really hated. Use these lists to help hone in on what you would like to do with your life.
- Entrepreneurs are risk-takers—but smart risk-takers. Have (at the least) 6 to 8 months worth of living expenses salted away when you decide to take the step away from a day-job/regular paying job to pursue your passion. Passion is good…but so are food, clothing, and shelter!
- Travel is a great teacher. If you can, experience the world before you experience college. Get some “real life” under your belt. You might discover new life directions.
- Get your priorities straight. Know why you attend college….focus on that.
- Don’t procrastinate. If you do, that 200-page reading load you have this week will quickly turn to 400 pages next week. Yuck!
- Have a passion for your major.
- The dollars might draw someone to a major or career—but if passion is not present, the dollars will soon become meaningless. Can you pay the bills utilizing your skills and talents?
- Stay balanced in your life. Take time to relax and recharge.
Listening to these sage adults was gratifying. They made a difference in our lives for the few minutes they came into the classroom. I was proud to know them.
Kim, Rochelle, and Jessica, thank you for working with my students—and thank you for the psychic wages you passed along to me. I am richer for it! Love to you.
Enjoy your week—and H.T.R.B. as needed!
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