Graduates (and their teachers) Step Up to Life
One day at the end of this semester, I had an amazing conversation with my college students in class. I was talking with them about hunger in the U.S. We discussed the fact that, according to the web site FeedingAmerica.org, the total cost of hunger to American society is said to be about $90 billion a year. In contrast, it would only cost about $10 billion to $12 billion a year to virtually end hunger in our nation.
During that conversation, some of the students shared about their involvement in international hunger projects on campus at Wake Forest University. Others then began to see what they had not seen before: the need for action against hunger in the U.S. and their ability to do something about it. Days later some students shared with me that they had made plans to volunteer for various local hunger projects this summer because of our conversation in class. They saw a need. They saw their responsibility and the opportunity to make and difference in the world and they put action in place to do that, virtually over night.
I share this anecdote with you on the eve of college graduations all across this country. Graduations, that with the toss of a cap in the air, propel students out into the world at large to become fully participating members of society.
When Pomp And Circumstance rings its last note, these young people start their adventure into the adult world, many of them on their own for the first time. These amazing human beings are full of life, new knowledge, and wanting to make a difference in the world. They are at a unique intersection of searching for their place in the world while at the same time brave with new knowledge and clear opinions and views. They are hungry to lead and are perhaps even hungrier to have adults in their life whom they can model themselves after.
So, as someone who was once their professor, I pass the baton to you. These students will be showing up in your places of work as new employees. It would be easy to pass them by, to think of them as too young to really know much or even too inexperienced to have much to contribute. My request is that you put that aside and see them as I do. See them for the miracles that they really are. See them as people who will one day be running your company, leading our government, and shaping the world in which we live. Take interest in their development; take interest in their lives. Teach them as their professors have done and their parents did before that. Be the leader they are looking for, allow them to learn from your example and join them in making world a better place.
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This essay was created by Dr. Cristin Whiting, Psy.D: Triad Tribe author, clinical psychologist, and adjunct professor at Wake Forest University. In addition to writing for Bridges, Cristin is launching a new website and multimedia blog called The Love Tango: The Extraordinary Dance Between Sex, Love and Intimacy. Cristin also writes monthly on the topic of relationships for Dr. Lara Fernandez.com who’s tag line is “Live the life of your dreams with your soulmate by your side.” She also blogs for Triad Mom’s on Main. Beyond her writing, Cristin is the mother of two children who are the joy of her life. She also volunteers as a leadership coach, empowering others to live lives they love so they can be a contribution to their communities. Cristin currently resides in Winston-Salem and has a private psychotherapy practice.