Recently we were invited to speak to students. After reading one of our columns titled, the admissions director, called and wondered if we would talk about setting high standards, doing one’s best, and persevering through thick and thin. We were flattered. And we are glad we said yes.
They’re not looking back
The students ranged in age from early 20s to mid-60s. Many of them have personal stories of lousy breaks, insurmountable hurdles, family tragedies, and personal heartbreak. Whatever their setbacks, they have picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and started over.
They are a brave bunch. You will never meet students with greater resolve to reach beyond their grasp and to achieve their educational goals. Many of the students have lived through nightmares. Today all of them are fulfilling their dreams. It is inspiring to be around them. Their energy and enthusiasm rubs off as soon as you’re inside the door. What you see are a lot of smiling faces happy to welcome you inside.
Good for the soul
Our presentation touched on issues such as perseverance, creating your own personal public relations program, aiming high and higher, fulfilling your dreams, being prepared, and giving back. A few of the students stood in front of the group and told their own personal stories of trials and triumph. Several times the room erupted into applause or cheers as fellow students shared encouraging words and professed how their faith helped them through some tough times. At one point, all of us were brought to tears, punctuated with hugs and pats on the back.
They turned the tables on us
We went to motivate the students and cheer them on. Instead, or in addition, they lit our fire and lifted our spirits. We were moved and motivated. We felt better for being there, for being among those smart, determined and inspiring men and women.
Thank you students for making us feel at home and part of your family. If we left you with any words of wisdom and sage advice, we also walked out your door richer and wiser.
We love these opportunities … partly for selfish reasons. Who wouldn’t want to do something if it made you feel better? That’s why we speak to groups—youngsters, oldsters, in-betweeners. No matter where you are in life, everyone can use a pep talk.