I share these reflections following the celebration of my graduation this week. Undertaking a masters degree as a mature student and full time worker, is a commitment to fast tracking learning in a particular field, engaging formally in lectures and assessment, in the hope of demonstrating a particular set of knowledge or skills.
At my graduation ceremony, the occasional speaker shared three important lessons from her career. She recommended graduates firstly find their passion, and then find a mentor. Secondly she said take a chance, be brave, and go new places. Thirdly she said, reflect on the journey, and enjoy it. If you're not enjoying it, change it.
I would echo these sentiments from my own experiences, however I would add two more points of advice for younger new graduates.
- Find your community, a group of like minded professionals who will support you, challenge you and catch you when things get tough (as they do). These people are your sounding board, and can help with your professional identity, as if forms &/or changes.
- Identify what your unique offering is - this is not just your passion, but what you give back to the world.
I have some wonderful supports around me, personal and professional. These people constantly remind me what my unique offering is, and uphold me when I'm in need. I want to say a huge thanks to the women & men in my life who have encouraged me, challenged me, and held me when things got tough. My mother and sisters who are great teachers in their own fields, to my coaches, mentors & professional colleagues and peers with whom I have had many hours of debate, and a couple of my closest friends (like minded beings) who remind me I can do better.
While the formality of university is over, the journey continues.