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What The Incoming Class Of 2017 Can Teach Us Before They Take A Class


College graduations must have hired a better PR firm than the one college convocations hired.

Every spring we hear a lot about college graduations. We hear about the multitude of commencement speakers past to present presidents, from Hillary to Newt.

We are inundated with pictures of students in robes tossing their flat hats high in the air.

It’s the college orientation, sometimes called convocation that is really the place to be for a front row seat to the future.

When you think about it, a student’s first days in college are the most hopeful time in their life.

It’s before they have gotten a professor, a roommate, or a tuition bill they don’t like. They can see the future but only in doses as small as the next quarter or semester.

So convocation is minus the great platitudes that we hear about unlimited potential and endless opportunities. Students are trying to find their way to class more than they are trying to find their potential.

The off-to-college time is a reminder that truly as much as things change they do stay the same. The diversity of the freshman faces may change, but not the anticipation. The backgrounds and neighborhoods of the freshman may change, but not the uncertainty of making it in college life. Being a freshman is a great equalizer. The 280 pound lineman is just as nervous as the 90 pound geek.

In watching the Class of 2017, I couldn’t help but feel better about the future.

These were 4,000 incoming freshman that outwardly did not bear the scars of the last decade. They did not bear the scars of the collapse of the economy. Perhaps in a better economy they would have selected a school further from home. The point is they are in school.

They were not outwardly affected by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It did not look like Obamacare or sequestration was high on their minds. They looked and sounded like freshmen from any generation, giddy with the anticipation of pizza and late night cramming.

These students were both in school and at the convocation so you know they are serious about their education.

They come wearing all colors and all majors. Some of them might actually graduate in the same major they declare as a freshman.

In an effort to be cool, the university president called on a young woman wearing what he referred to as ‘that salmon color”. What 18 year old is going to know pink is referred to as salmon? As much as things change, they stay the same.

A university president is rarely going to be deemed cool by students five decades younger.

Although they are the Generation still unnamed, go see them. You will feel better about the future. I did.

Read more posts by communication expert, Leslie Ungar, here. Leslie blogs for JenningsWire.


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