OPINION: Professors offer advice to graduating seniors

 

Graduation is quickly approaching, and for many seniors, there is an element of uncertainty surrounding the event and all that follows. Some of our esteemed faculty members graciously offered words of advice for graduating seniors:

Dr. Beth Clark-Thomas is a Professor of Elementary Education.

Dr. Beth Clark-Thomas, Professor of Elementary Education:

Remember from whence you have come and for whom you toil!  Knowing that your family and friends love and support you unconditionally will provide needed encouragement.  Believing that your Heavenly Father is the only one whose favor you should seek, will free you from an unhealthy focus on serving an earthly boss.

Knowing how and when to communicate casually vs. professionally is a much-overlooked skill.  In literacy we refer to this as “code switching.”  Reserve “lol,” “OMG,” and “TBT” for Facebook, Twitter, or casual texts and email—NOT business communications.

God’s promise is real! (Hebrews 10:35-36) “Do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.  You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised!”

Dr. Barb Drennan, Department of Visual Arts Chair:

Dr. Barb Drennan is the Department of Visual Arts Chair.

Don’t underestimate yourself—pay attention to your dreams, especially the big ones.   Volunteer during the hours you are not job-hunting; you can learn a lot and you will make a difference.  Stay in touch with family and friends and ask for their help and encouragement.

I practiced interviewing and applied for numerous positions.  At the conclusion of my first interview, I shook hands with the person I had just interviewed with, and said, “Thank you; I really want this position.”   The response was, “Then it is yours.”  As I walked back to my car, all I could think was, do I really want to work here?

An undergraduate degree was not the end of my education, but instead it was preparation for lifelong learning.  (P.S.  The first lesson:  Never again did I ask for a position I did not want.)

Dr. Joel Soza is a Professor of Biblical Studies.

Dr. Joel Soza, Professor of Biblical Studies:

The path of life will provide many contour changes.  Do not be afraid of bends and twists in the road or the road less traveled.  Your life will not develop like the straight line you perhaps think it should.  One year out of college, I had a complete conversion to Christ, a brand new call of God to follow, and a brand new direction to take.  The road was long and hard, but much more rewarding than roads bypassed that seemed easier to travel.  The wheels of God may grind slowly, but they grind surely.

Professor Jon Peterson, Assistant Professor of Music & Director of Choral Activities:

Jon Peterson is an Assistant Professor of Music & the Director of Choral Activities.

If I have any advice for you as you take this next step in your journey, it is that God is not yet finished with you. When I first set foot on my college’s campus as a freshman, I thought that I had my future all planned out: I was going to pursue a double major in philosophy and music and, imagining myself four years later, I knew that I was going to go to seminary and be called into pastoral ministry.  Well, here I am today, serving on the music faculty of this amazing institution, not preaching from a pulpit, but exercising a call to ministry in a way that I would never have imagined when I was eighteen.  I owe this radically rewarding change of course to my admittedly reluctant willingness to open myself up to God’s guidance in my life. . .in college and beyond.

In his letter to the Philippians, Paul writes, “I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ.” (Phil. 1:6, NRSV)  God is not finished with you, nor is he finished with me.  We have each been formed in God’s image, and this passage reminds us that he continues to form each of us until the end of the age.  Allow yourself to be open to the Spirit’s guidance in all that you do, today and henceforth, and you will likely find that God has guided you to new and exciting places that are beyond all that we could ever ask or imagine.  (Eph. 3:20)

Dr. Matthew Phelps is a Professor of Psychology.

Dr. Matthew Phelps, Professor of Psychology:

Transitions are exciting.  They are also difficult.  Expect to have mixed emotions during your transition from college to career, graduate school, and/or more significant involvement in family and community life.

Enjoy the ride.  Seek Christ’s kingdom first. Practice spiritual disciplines and rely upon others to stay oriented in the midst of struggle and confusion.  Participate in the life of a local church. Have fun. Don’t take yourself too seriously.

Ask questions.  What is my calling right now?  What is really true and good and beautiful?  Who do I need to serve?  How? What am I truly living for and moving toward? Accept that life is full of both joy and suffering.  Be grateful.  Say “thanks” often—to God and to others.  Ask for help often—and respond when others ask for yours.

Hope Samblanet is the opinion editor for The Aviso AVW.

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