This article was written by Ashley Stringfield or the HonorSociety.org Elevate e-magazine. This series features top featured writers from the HonorSociety.org writing program. The original article can be found here.
I am a graduate student at Pepperdine University. Recently I rode several on-campus shuttles. In an attempt to be friendly I spoke with several students sitting near me. The usual questions commenced. What’s your name? What’s your major? I found out that all of the students I spoke with were undergraduates. Some were undecided majors. Others were business students.
When I told the students I was in graduate school I became an instant role model for them. One freshman asked me to give her advice for surviving college. I reminded her to discover a topic she is passionate about early on in her college career in order to avoid wasting money because of classes taken that are not needed for graduation. I had several conversations with students in the span of four hours. They all asked for my opinion. I felt satisfied. I felt blessed. Someone outside of work respected my knowledge.
I spend most of my time around graduate students. At this level we consider one another as colleagues. Sometimes, however, graduate school alumni and students become so comfortable in the art of already knowing that they forget that life is about a constant journey to arrival. The moment that we as humans are too comfortable to seek or accept advice on the premise that we have already arrived is the moment in which we lose purpose and an audience that could propel us into future endeavors. Remember, the reasons that our professors recommend for us to continuously attend conferences in our field is to keep us humble, growing, up-to-date and sociable. The individual who has arrived cannot continue to arrive if they are not hungry for the new trends of the moment.
Seek out mentorship opportunities. Glean new ideas from colleagues, beginners and everyone in-between. Develop yourself into someone who teaches and who is teachable.