One area of great enjoyment for me is spending time with college students in an attempt to assist them in their chosen field of business, marketing and/or journalism, and trying to help them understand about the "real world" they're about to encounter.
I spent the day yesterday, along with several other fellow alums, at the William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Kansas. The school is named after the so-called "Sage of Emporia," a renowned newspaper editor in that Kansas town who went into politics, became an author and eventually led the Progressive movment in the U.S. White became the voice for middle America and long preached the virtues of community.
It's fitting that his name adorns the School of Journalism at K.U. given the sense of community which is pervasive to those who teach there, go there, and graduate from there.
It was "Jayhawk Generations" day yesterday at the J-School and we alums were given the opportunity to teach every class during the day and, along the way, to impart our wisdom to the students. The classes ranged from introductory journalism classes to those focused on sales strategy and persuasion, advanced editing, and integrated advertising and marketing communications campaigns. We also were involved in an end-of-day forum with students about to graduate, assisting them with topics like networking, interviewing, resume construction, and online personas/use of social media.
It was an exhilarating day for those of us who got to return to the building, and school, where we'd spent some of the best years of our lives. Friendships were rekindled and business relationships were sparked.
More importantly, the day reinforced to me, once again, the vibrancy and inquisitiveness of those about to enter careers that cut across the swatch of professional opportunity. The questions asked were pointed and considered, the concern was sincere, and the interest was high. And, unfortunate to a degree, the anxiety about employment seemed high as well.
Each alum, without prompting, was universal in their urging of students to not worry, that careers--and life--always seem to work out, even though the journey will be fraught with twists and turns.
I left Lawrence encouraged--by the response I received from these young adults who seemed so interested, and by the genuine concern they have for what they do next, all in hopes of making their own mark in some significant way.