Monday, November 2, 2009

Director’s Corner – First-Year Focus

We’re already into November! I can’t believe how fast the semester is flying by! Many of you mentioned to me that you feel like you’re in a whirlwind of activity, barely putting out one fire (read: deliverable) before a new fire starts.

The cynical part of me says “welcome to graduate school.” The realistic part of me says, “I understand. I feel that way too! There are not enough hours in the day.”

When I reflect on my graduate school experience, I remember feeling the way you do. I could barely grasp a concept or contemplate a new method before the professors were moving on to the next subject. Several of you have told me that you don’t feel as though the knowledge is sinking in. You fear you are not learning anything because you are being exposed to so much.

My advice: “keep the faith.” You don’t realize how much you’re learning because you haven’t had the chance to go out and apply it. Each summer, when the classrooms are empty and the halls are not lined with students waiting for Jon Pinder, I get emails from students working in their internships. I know my colleagues receive these emails too, where students are telling us how they’ve had a chance to apply what they’ve learned in our classes. Those emails are very fulfilling to my colleagues and me because we realize that we have taught you something useful and this validates our efforts. But it also sends a message to you that all the hard work from your first year is paying off. These tools in your tool box are actually being used and they are actually useful! You impressed your boss and it felt good!

At this time of the school year, things are very hectic and stressful. There will be other crazy periods as well. At these times, it is important to remember to keep the faith. I realize that it’s very easy to say and very hard to do, but I’m asking you to trust me on this and I’ll look forward to receiving your email over the summer!

~ Sherry Moss

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