…but the years are short.
This is my last day in my second home Gerlach Hall. To be candid, I’ve been avoiding this blog post for weeks now. I sat down to write on multiple occasions only to be overcome with such nostalgia that I couldn’t ever actually begin writing.
The last two years have absolutely changed my life. I’ve learned more about the field of HR in terms of technical knowledge than I knew existed. What’s more, I’ve learned more about myself than I ever could have anticipated.
I know I’ve talked about this point for some time now, but to be explicit: I believe grad school is about so much more than classes, exams, and projects. Grad school is about pushing yourself to think in different ways. It’s about confronting the anxiety of presenting in front of 50 people. It’s about managing through the hurt of not getting that internship you thought you’d nail. It’s about sleepless nights, and not having the right answer all the time, and learning to dance in the grey area. It’s about learning to fight fair with your classmates and professors and respecting each other at the end of the day. It’s about failing small, learning from your mistakes, and remembering how to be a beginner again.
It’s about all this and so much more. But I wanted to challenge myself to choose my most meaningful learnings from my time in the Master of Human Resource Management program. Here’s my triple-distilled final list of takeaways:
Don’t sweat the small stuff. The business world is fast-moving and always changing. People move quickly and shake things up and make mistakes. Grad school has taught me that doing something is almost always better than doing nothing. Don’t know the answer? Give it a shot anyway. Don’t know how to start that paper? Just start. One of my classmates has often said: “you either succeed or you learn.” Grad school is about learning how to use your energy and effort in the direction of productivity.
Take care of yourself. What recharges you? Do that thing, and do it often. This year, even when I thought I’d run out of hours in the day, I made time to exercise–for just one hour. I knew I’d be able to think more clearly afterward. Everything that needs to get done will get done.
You get out what you put in. As I move through life, I realize that in nearly every organization, team, program, and job there are going to be two groups of people–1) those who put in discretionary effort, and 2) those who do the bare minimum. On paper, these two groups will look virtually the same. They’ll have the same credentials, degrees, and experiences, and positions, and they’ll probably have access to the same opportunities as a result. The difference is in the amount of time and care they have invested into each of these items on their resume. Did they do it to check a box or did they do it for the challenge, learning, and growth? I can tell you with confidence that merely checking boxes will catch up with those folks, so choose wisely which group you want to belong to.
How you do anything is how you do everything. Don’t wait to put your best foot forward. I run across people every day who are so engrossed in the next “thing,” and admittedly I am also guilty of such future-tripping. It was said best by MHRM class of 2017 graduate (and my good friend) Kacie—life happens now. It is so easy to get caught up saying, when I nail that internship, get that job, graduate this program, get married, have a family, that is when my life will start. Try to remember your life is happening every day and all around you—be present for it.
To all my followers over the last two years, thank you for the honor. Best of luck in wherever your future endeavors take you! And to all my graduating classmates—let’s do this.