Business School Graduation Keynote08-Apr-2009 Streamwise Head of Organisational Development, Dr. Melinda Muth was invited to give the Charles Sturt University Graduation Address to the Business School Graduates in April 2009. Here is an excerpt of her presentation:
Being asked to participate in a graduation is a real responsibility; this day should not be seen as just a ceremony, but an important rite of passage. In our society earning a degree confers a new status upon us but we often fail to recognise the psychological significance of that new status and the opportunity it creates for regeneration.
French anthropologist, Arnold van Gennep outlined three phases that celebrate a transition from one status to another: separation, liminality and re-incorporation.
The Separation Phase
In the first phase, separation, people withdraw from a group and begin moving from one place or status to another. There is often a physical departure, which is associated with symbolic actions and rituals. Some of you left home to study at this university, many would have attended some sort of orientation event, although for some of you the first phase of your passage may have been a deep breath as you turned on the computer to download the study requirements for your first course. Whatever it was, there was movement into a new place, space or mental state.
The Liminal Phase
Then the liminal phase, a period between states, during which people have left one place or state but haven't yet entered or started the next. It’s a new way to think about online tutorials - located in the ‘liminal’ zone.
The Re-Incorporation Phase
Finally, re-incorporation, where elaborate rituals and ceremonies take place, like today – a university graduation. And so we are here with robes, mace, and unusual headwear to recognise the completion of a significant journey with the public award of a testamur for the degree you have earned. However, there is a far greater purpose, and that is to take time to reflect on not only what you have achieved but what you will do with the knowledge gained in the next phase of your career, and life.
To Be Successful
A successful career is based on finding your strengths and matching them with something you love because your work will be enjoyable and chances are you will be very good at it. If you have a passion for your work, it is easier to commit time and energy, to build your skills, accept feedback and learn from mistakes. When all these elements are present, it is likely that rewards will follow.
Take some time after today to reflect on your strengths, on the knowledge and skills you have acquired and generate as many options as possible for matching them in a career that has meaning as well as reward.
Think Long Term
And then there is the issue of time, how long will it take and what’s in it for you (and again, I’m not talking only about money). Think long term, don’t rush, be discerning. Why follow the herd and compare yourself to people who are not you, be courageous for yourself. Success is different for everyone because we all have different strengths. Each individual nature has its own beauty.
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