It seems like we have just barely gotten through finals week, only to wake up this morning to a bright sun and the next chapter of our lives... I know, I didn’t expect it to happen this quickly either.
Surely it is a mixed bag of emotions. Surely we are sitting here, blinking, hardly able to believe that the last four years have gone by.
We came in, determined to be journalists, advertisers, and communicators. Now we question what these titles practically mean for the rest of our lives.
We are far from the eager-eyed and cocksure freshman who complained about taking Journalism 1010.
Now, we are not looking ahead to intimidating capstones, but rather the daunting task of taking our skills outside of the University context.
Today as we take those steps beyond the pillars that once warmly welcomed us with Tiger Stripe ice cream, there are two things as communicators, as students and as people that we must never forget.
The first is to know that we can accomplish anything.
They tell us there are no jobs.
They tell us the industry is failing.
They tell us that the future is unknown, that we must decide it.
They are waiting with baited breath.
When I hear these things, my stomach drops. Just like it did waiting for the results of a midterm I took after no sleep and six hours of coffee-induced studying.
But where does this fear come from? It comes from our imaginations.
My brother once told me that “too often great minds or gifts are wasted out of fear or excuses.” So let’s not make excuses.
Because right now there is more opportunity than ever before to shape this industry and this profession into what it should and could be: reliable, honest, informative, accurate but also meaningful.
Yes, the arrival of new media has forever changed the way we communicate, but it should never change why we communicate.
Stories and people have not changed.
We must remember to stay humble, we must remember those we serve. We must remember at the core of every story is a story about humanity and it is our duty to clearly express this—whether through twitter, blog, photos, video, flash graphics, slideshows, audio, or text.
Secondly, if we take away nothing else, no other skill from the Univeristy of Missouri School of Journalism let it be our ability to question.
Question the state of the world.
Question the societal role of journalism and advertising.
Question the barriers in the industry.
Question ourselves as we change.
We are no longer the gatekeepers of information. But there is still a role for us. It is to go deep enough into a story or message to find a truth that resonates with everyone.
We can still be the bearers of light, but remember that the wisdom is not a given. We are not wise for bearing light, but rather will be wise if we are gutsy enough and patient enough to delve deeper.
We have literally watched our dated journalism school move into the new media revolution. Now it is our turn.
Lets go out in to this world and embrace this life for what it is and for the possibilities of what it can some day be.