I’ve been contemplating my place in the world. I turned 50 about 3 weeks ago – and really started to think hard about my legacy. In the first 50 years of my life, I was focused on the awards, the recognition, the honors – using those “tools” to feel like I’m making a difference. However, I noticed that there was still this emptiness inside of me, an emptiness that longed for something greater than myself. Thus, questions about my legacy.
So, I’ve been able to narrow down my options to one thing – to make an impact on higher education. I know that I want to help students, faculty, and staff find their path, their purpose, their legacy – the question is…how? So, as I was looking through mounds and mounds of paper in my home “office” (my wife would call it my “man cave”), I came across a poem, a poem that resonated with my soul, a poem that truly described my purpose. As I shared the poem with my wife, we both looked at each other with amazement…why did this poem show up in my life at this particular time? In hundreds and hundreds of pieces of paper in my room, this poem crosses my path at the exact time I’m trying to decide on my legacy. Everything happens for a reason, right?
So, take a few minutes to read the poem. There’s something in it for everyone!
So, Why Am I In College: The Intention of Advising in the Next Decade (right now, author is unknown)
Why am I in college?
A question I get asked – by my professors,
My advisor, my roommate, and even my friends.
Even though I know how important it s
To have an answer…to ensure my college success,
I don’t have one – and it hurts.
I take the career tests, the personality tests,
The interest inventories, and attend career workshops.
Not much help with the answer – and I get more confused.
At this point, why should I even bother to go to college
When I don’t know what I really want to do?
How do I decide? Who should I go talk to?
Should I listen to my parents? My friends?
My boyfriend/girlfriend? My pastor? My dog?
Or just pick something that can get me a job?
You tell me to “go to career services, go to your advisor,
Or take a class…all will provide you the answer.”
No, I don’t think so.
So, why am I in college?
I hear the stories…
College is concerned with two things:
My decision to come back to college after my first year
And my desire to graduate college in four, five, or six years.
What a shame, what a waste of this experience.
I need more help than that.
I wish they would forget about technology,
Forget about the numbers, forget about the money.
And for once, focus on me.
I want to know what I should do with my life,
I want to succeed in college,
And I want to have people that I can call friends.
I know that my success is based on
The personal relationships I create,
And building connections that lasts a lifetime.
College is my time to grow as a person,
To understand why I’m here
And how I can make a difference.
So, why am I in college?
I want to succeed, I want to grow,
I want a reason to be alive.
How can you help me – as my advisor?
Help me with my schedule, but that’s not what I need most.
Help me find my purpose, my passions, my dreams,
Help me find a way to make a difference to others.
Help me minimize my fears, my obstacles,
Help me get around the brick walls that stand in my way.
Help me find a path that’s aligned with my heart and soul.
Help me understand that there’s more to life
Than getting a piece of paper and a job after graduation.
Give me a reason to be here (and stay) in college;
Help me see the value of this experience.
If you can help me, here’s my promise to you:
I will serve and contribute my best to the world,
I will take responsibility for my actions and decisions,
And I will live a life full of abundance and joy.
Support and encourage me, then I will be able to answer your question,
Why am I in college?
Please share your thoughts – positive or negative regarding this poem.
P.S. If anyone knows the origin or author of this poem, please let me know. I want to be able to give credit where credit is due!
Bill, the poem is amazing! It brought tears to my eyes. You were right, I understand why you want to do what you want to do even better now, and I want to be able to contribute to improvement of our higher ed! There are so many students who are lost, we need help!
Thank you for sharing this poem! I believe the changes will start happening soon…
Hi Ana! Great to hear from you! Yes, the poem stuck a cord with me as soon as I read it! Now you can see why I’m on a mission, doing what I’m doing. You can also see why I decided to do something different with my classes, since connections are the thing that students are REALLY seeking! I did a mid-semester evaluation of the course a couple of weeks ago; students stated that they loved to hear the stories of their fellow students and how the class feels like family. And this was from both sections of the course! Just what I was hoping to achieve! So I do hope that you get a chance to be a part of this magic, since it could be the start of something great! I hope all is well; I look forward to connecting with you soon!
Bill, This poem really resonated with me because I turned 51 last year. I am leading a team of advisors that are much younger than I am, so I used this as a message at a recent meeting. Many times our people get caught up in the policies, procedures, and processes that they lose track of the “human side” of what we do as Student Affairs professionals. Thanks for helping me remember why we do what we do! Tracy Austin, Director of Professional Development and Quality Coaching at Franklin University Division of Student Affairs
TRacy, thank you for taking the time to read my blog and share your thoughts. I agree 100% with you; I think that’s why I’m almost on a mission to really do something bigger in life – and in higher education. Keep plugging away, making a difference; we need more people like you and I out there to really be “human!”