Columbia will open a lot of doors but it is your job to keep them open. GPA, class rank mean nothing in the real world. A successful life is more about being in the right place at the right time.
Be social, respect others' opinions and seek to improve not only yourself but others around you. Live by the "golden rule" and opportunities will flood your life. Once they do do not be afraid to take risks and choose to do what you WANT to do and what makes you happy. Enjoy going to work not coming home from work.
The only downside is that life will pass so quickly before you know it you are a grandparent so never forget to smell the roses along the way.
Mark Honig, '81CC
Dear Columbia graduates:
Now that you have graduated from this prestigious Ivy League university, you are entering a new world. Stay true to your identity and high qualities, such as good work ethic, honesty, and kindness. Remember to share all of this with the world!
- Brian Tabaroki, '10AC, CEO, Candelabra Group
Key Word: OPPORTUNITY--look for it; be prepared to make a decision about it; act on it.
In my pursuit of opportunity I've used three themes as a guide:
- Vision: I created a view of what I wanted to do and then tested it and modified it from time to time. The details evolved and were shaped by the opportunities I found. But I kept working on it. And at my late career stage I'm still at it.
- Givers/not Takers: I learned to try (not always successfully) to surround myself with people who contributed to me and the community at large. Takers are exhausting and distracting and I tried to avoid them.
- Balance: It is possible to find balance between career, family and personal needs. But it takes work. Example: I travelled a lot as a management consultant and entrepreneur. When our first son had his first parent-teacher conference, on a Wednesday early afternoon I was in client-ville. Mid week tends to be travel days. But we approached the school and asked if the conferences for our kids could be set early on Monday or afternoons on Friday. They could. I made the next 21 conferences in a row. Being close to my sons was and is important. By working at it we found a way to achieve balance in spite of a taxing travel schedule. You can strike a balance but it takes effort.
All in all--with your life ahead of you--seek, find and act on opportunity. I've met and worked with many in your generations and as the song goes, I do think "The kids are alright!"
Yes you are.
Thomas Doorley, '69BUS
Don't compare yourself with others. Follow what's right for you. What maybe right for someone else may not work for you. Continue to explore, allow yourself to evolve, shake up the status quo and surround yourself with those that will keep your sights on the stars.
Pedram Radfar, '15GSAS
You will learn the most through listening. Share what you know in the service of others, not to gain power. Consider the values you want to be known by and show these through your actions.
Bonnie McDougall Olson, '14SCE
"Like a family, this community will always be here when you need it. The colleagues, friends, and faculty you've worked with, studied with, or heard lectures from, will serve as your support and your network."
-Jason Wingard, PhD
Dean and Professor
What an amazing gift you are to my life, Jessica. From the moment I first laid eyes on you in an ultrasound with those big beautiful eyes and adorable face to just last week watching you give your Blue Lion bridge presentation to visiting guests, I have loved you more each day. Watching you blossom over these 21 years has been a privilege and a joy. And now you are on the edge ready to make one of life's big changes into the so called real world. You have been in the real world since birth, learning from life's challenges and embracing its invitations. But most importantly, you have been loving with your whole heart and soul, caring for yourself and those around you. I am so proud of you Miss Jessica for who you are and what you have done. I look forward to seeing more unfolding of your life and to being the recipient of your deep love.
Be grateful for the incredible education you received-it will never stop helping you in facing the challenges of life.
-Laurence H. Rubinstein '60CC
Be persistent. Don't give up if everything doesn't come right away. Treasure what you've learned. Gave the keynote address to the induction of the GS Honor Society in February. My title was, "Go make a difference." Offer that advice too : )
-Kathleen Wetzel Apltauer '07GS
Employ your Columbia skills to be a lifelong learner. Build your Columbia network as a source of personal growth; its usefulness as an aid for your professional growth will come in time.
-K. Daniel Libby '78SEAS '82SEAS
Know that all that you have learned is the beginning of a lifetime of building on that learning as you and your field continues to evolve.
-Justine Joan Sheppard '64MA
To have a successful career it is important to understand what drives you and what success means to you. From this context it's critical to have a long term target from which you can evaluate each opportunity that presents itself or, more importantly, that you create as you go. Expect the target to change and that you will too. That's okay... a career is not a linear progression. Instead it is a series of connected pivots that allow you to navigate through and around whatever the world throws at you along the way.
-Joseph Impellizeri '87BUS
If looking for a position, network as best you can. Get active in organizations that are pertinent to your field.
-Jordan Pollack '56 Pharmacy
Be as open-minded as possible, as your post-college journey through life is just getting started. Just because something hasn't happened yet, or isn't happening now, does not mean it will never happen;you're young, you don't know what will and won't happen, so just enjoy the ride!
-Jon Henin '09GS
You only get out of your job search what you put in. It's hard to stay on top of it, it's uncomfortable to put yourself out there, and it's deflating when things don't go well. But it's worth all the work you put in when you find the opportunity that's right for you. And remember, you just need to find that one position that's right for you at this time in your life.
-Jessica Cunningham SIPA '15
Maintain your contacts between you and your fellow graduates. Be prepared to modify your career plans as you participate in the the current economy.
-Jerrold Katz '74BUS
Remember that your first job is not your last job. Don't worry that it's nor perfect or where you imagined yourself to be. You have lots of time to get to where you want to be and you may find that what you thought you wanted doesn't make you happy at all.
-Jennifer Fung '04CC
Stick close to your CU contacts until you land a decent job; then stick close to them anyway, until you feel that you're on a career path. But don't lose sight of them after that, since you never know when you will want or need them again.
-Jean Mia Leo SLS '74
You live in a very different world that that faced by this 80 year old but my liberal education (English major) and solid science courses prepared me for a life as surgeon and scientist and although I have given up the OR I continue to teach and invent and make a difference. Columbia was great!
-Irwin Kelman Cohen '59GS
Always keep the "I-want-to-know-more" attitude, never forget you know very little, try to work to make this world a better place (it is not impossible), and try to stay connected with the Columbia Alumni community (we are very interesting people and you will miss us otherwise!).
-Imma Puig-Simon '06SIPA
The Core doesn't just give you dinner conversation, but a way to understand that the world is more complex than we can ever comprehend by watching the news. It's the best training to remind you that you need to think more deeply.
- Hussein Rashid '96CC
A Columbia degree is a life long ticket to help your success
Howard Nadel Pharmacy '74