Protecting Our Assets
Once again we are right around the corner from graduation and two things are happening—we have a brand new group of high school/secondary school students who are making their matriculation choices for the 2018-2019 academic year and we have a new group of students graduating from a higher education institution in the next few weeks and months who will be entering the workplace fulltime. It’s an exciting time of year for the students as well as their parents and teachers.
As one of the parents with a child that has graduated college, I am continually impressed with the efforts made by the administration, faculty and students at higher education institutions to recruit and welcome our children as well as to help them (and their parents) make this important life transition. Faculty don’t just educate our children, but they will also serve as almost surrogate parents to these newly-minted group of adults many of whom have never been far from home, many of whom have no clue as to how the real world works.
It’s an awesome responsibility that educators take on to advise, guide, mentor and help mold young adults. They will sometimes listen more intently to you as their professor than they would to the same words spoken by their parents. And I can imagine that this additional role you are required to play (besides just trying to educate the students) is often as frustrating and as rewarding as it was and is for their parents. I’ve gained a whole new level of appreciation and respect for the responsibility and challenges that educators must handle in fulfilling their role as teachers, mentors and surrogate parents.
As faculty, you continue in that role up to and following graduation when these young adults go out into the “real” world and seek fulltime employment for the first time in their lives. The educator/mentor/surrogate parent role then shifts to the recently-graduated student’s supervisor or manager. Today’s graduates are entering a workforce that is very different from what it was just ten years ago (and certainly one much evolved from when their parents started working fulltime!). They will face a set of challenges and expectations that no one dreamed possible fifty years ago, but I have no doubt they will see their way through the times of transition because of the advice and guidance received from interested and caring educators and managers.
Like other parents of graduating students, I’m proud of my child for what he has accomplished and for who he has become as an adult. I have (admittedly with some sadness) sent him out to the world full of gratitude for those in higher education who were there to educate, to care for and to guide him. Educators get no where near the recognition they deserve for the role they play every day in the lives of thousands and thousands of young adults. Thank you for tending to and protecting a parent’s most precious asset.