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Inspiration to carry you post-graduation

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By Meghan Mahar


Some college students know where they’re going post-graduation, but some of them do not. Those who don’t could pick up a lot of tips by listening to the speakers who come to campus.

The Student Association at the University at Albany has a Speaker Series in which speakers from alumni to public figures come and talk to current students.

It’s inspiring to hear a person’s journey to success and how they got to where they are. As a student, I always have the concern of “what if I am doing this all for nothing” in the back of my mind. We worry about the uncertainty of the future. Some graduates struggle with finding employment. I do not want to be in the same situation. Listening to speakers who were once college students themselves can give us an idea of what we can do to excel in our field, or to at least get started.

Even speakers who do not have specific career advice for students still have inspiring words. Earvin “Magic” Johnson, a former NBA star, visited the university a few years ago. He talked about the importance of giving back.

“Somebody helped you along the way… you didn’t get to where you are by yourself,” he said during an interview at UAlbany. He then went on to explain why it was important for students to remember those who helped them get to where they are, because it is important to give back to them in some way.

A few more speakers who have visited the campus include ex-President Bill Clinton, Russell Simmons, former Vermont governor Howard Dean, and Barbara Walters.

Walters said in an interview at the Speaker Series, “I think the opportunity for everyone to be able to go to school, to go to college or university, is one of the most important things this county can offer.”

There are also speakers outside of the Speaker Series who visit the campus. Tom Junod, a distinguished writer for Esquire, came as a speaker earlier this semester.

Given that it was a class requirement to attend, I thought at first it was going to be pointless and boring. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Not only has Junod become a successful journalist, he is also a graduate of UAlbany.

“I am very proud of the education I got at UAlbany,” he said. Hearing him say this was very reassuring.

Junod shared how he went from being a handbag salesman to writing for Esquire. He talked about how his success as a journalist didn’t happen overnight and that it takes time and determination. Along with talking about what inspired him and the writing process, Junod discussed the importance of having a writer-editor relationship and how even when one thinks they have done an excellent job, they still need to rewrite their piece.  

He also touched on his most famous piece on the 9/11 attacks, “The Falling Man,” and the steps he took to perfect it.

All students should take advantage of the Speaker Series, or any speaker that comes to campus. There are benefits of attending the events and they don’t cost anything.

Even speakers who may not directly relate to our field can teach us something. Chances are that we can still take away tips on how to rise to our full potential and survive in the real world.

More information on events and speakers can be found on SA’s Speaker Series’ website, http://www.albany.edu/speakerseries/.  

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