Sunday, February 20, 2005

River of Life

Oyez, J-School Bloggers:

Doug has prodded and pleaded to let the world hear more from us but so far few have responded. He and I have posted prompts but I suspect we might be asking the wrong questions, poking the wrong ribs. Let me take another stab at it. (Warning: Extended metaphor ahead.)

If getting a J-School degree, or any college degree, is like crossing a river, many students are wading along with relative ease, while others feel the water is too wide, fierce and possibly unfordable. For some, life on the other side appears increasingly unappealing and not worth the effort. Still others are waist-deep, fearing any moment they'll be swept away by the rushing current or wiped out by passing debris. Though tempted to turn back, they stay the course because the clock is ticking and starting over from another point or finding another way to cross would be costly. (End of metaphor)

If this is what you're experiencing, well, dear blooger, "That's life." Even after you've graduated, it will appear that for some life is a breeze; for others, a wicked nightmare of uncertainty and dread. Nothing mystical determines who is who, however. I believe those who are most successful and happiest -- regardless of station or profession -- have goals that help them make wise choices. They don't live life on the fly. They're more deliberate and sure-footed. More than that, to them, life is not just earning enough to buy a nice home or raise a family, although these are important. To them, what they do for a living matters, and this, in turn, fuels their grit and stiffens their backbones.

Eventually, all of you will step out of the river and into the real world. What are you going to do then? Do you hope to make a difference? If so, what's your plan? What are you going to do to ensure that at the end of your professional life you will have done more than collect paychecks for 30 years? Even if you don't want to work in the media, we all must contribute. What is your plan for making sure your professional life matters?

Let's keep it real.

Professor Wiggins


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