There’s no better inspiration than another person who has recently walked in your footsteps.
That’s why I brought eight successful, recent graduates of the St. Lawrence College Advertising-Integrated Marketing Communications program to visit my first-year Writing for Marketing class. At the beginning of the year, I’d brought another recent graduate to the class to talk about how blogging can change their lives; students were so inspired to hear from someone who had only recently been in their shoes that I wanted to repeat the experience.
I recalled that when I was in university some 20 years ago I had felt aimless and disconnected from my future career and I saw this in many of my own students, even some of the keenest. I vowed to somehow harness what I had learned from the previous speaker to give my students the edge I didn’t have when I was their age.
So last month, I brought eight recent graduates of their program into my classroom—four grads for each of my two sections—and, in a talk show-style format, I had them tell students about the keys to their own successes and the mistakes that had almost sunk them. Afterward, the grads broke into smaller breakout sessions and facilitated discussions with students to help students reflect on their own paths.
It was an amazing experience and life changing, I think, for many of us. It definitely was for me.
Many of the graduates were my students when I was a new (and not very good) teacher three years ago, so we had grown together. To see and hear them espousing piercing wisdoms and to see many of my current students hanging onto their every word made me feel as if I had come full circle as a college instructor.
It was a WOW moment that lasted two hours. It was an experience that I’ll never forget. And I’m sure it’s one that few of my students will either.