Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Graduation Its Game On You Go Now

On December 11, 2010, I officially graduated from the University of Tennessee with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a major in Marketing and a collateral in International Business. To be honest, I can't believe it. I can't believe my time as an undergraduate at the University of Tennessee is over. I can't believe I've had so many amazing opportunities over the past four (and a half) years. Honestly, I can't believe I am smart enough to be considered somewhat of an expert in all things business, in particular marketing and international business. And above all of that, I can't believe all of the valuable lifelong lessons I've learned both in and out of the classroom.

Our Fall 2010 Graduation Class was lucky enough to have Governor-Elect Bill Haslam speak at our Commencement. Governor Haslam joked about being a disappointment in relation to past Commencement speakers Dolly Parton and Al Gore. To be honest, Governor Haslam was absolutely perfect and really summed up perfectly a lot of what I've learned during my time as a Volunteer. Governor Haslam shared six things with the audience that I would like to share with you (a lot of this is taken directly from Governor Haslam's Commencement speech that I received via e-mail, thanks to my dad, from the Haslam Team - yes, I'm THAT nerdy that I will save it forever).

1. Be a Great Listener: Learn how to ask great questions and then listen for what you can learn. 

2. Commit Yourself to Being a Lifelong Learner: The most interesting people, the most challenging people, are people who truly do love learning.  
3. Be a Person of Grace: Unfortunately, much of the world seems to spend most of their time trying to find what it is that makes other people limp. In a world that is too often cynical, mean and hard, you can change that by becoming a person of grace. It starts by realizing that you have your own limp so you don't need to spend quite so much time focusing on what it is that makes other people limp.
4. Be a Person of Humility
5. Learn to Deal with Disappointment in Your Life Without Bitterness: Bad stuff is going to happen to you. You are not going to be treated fairly all the time. Your dreams will be broken as many times as they will be achieved - that's not what is is about. It's about getting back up.
6. Work Hard. Work really, really hard.

Governor Haslam closed up his six key points with a quote that I will remember forever:

"I'm sure it is really tempting to think - well I deserve a break now. But the truth is...it's game on. So many people have helped all of us be able to stand where we are standing now. Parents who sacrificed...faculty members who came along side you... All of them did that in order to hand us a baton and say - 'You go now.'"

- Bill Haslam, Governor of Tennessee

Governor Haslam is right. While one chapter of my life has come to a close, a huge door has been opened. My degree from the University of Tennessee should only be a platform onto bigger and better things. Governor Haslam challenged all graduates by saying, "be a great ambassador for this university across the state and the nation. We need you."

Along with what I have learned in the classroom at the University of Tennessee, I want to continue to listen, continue to learn, be a person of grace and humility, always respond with determination in the face of inevitable disappointment and always work really, really hard. I've accepted Governor Haslam's challenge to be an ambassador for myself, my university, and my state and I hope all 1,500 Fall 2010 graduates did as well. 

Governor Haslam said, "you go now." Well, here goes nothing!

Watch out world! I'm a GRADUATE!

1 comment:

  1. Just like you, I don't wanna forget those words either. Great post, keep it up. "You Go Now."