Dear students, 

Last week, I attended the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement's annual Heman Sweatt lecture. You can find a recap online here, including some great advice from the evening's speaker, PBS White House correspondent Yamiche Alcindor. She covered hot topics like entering a job market during a tough economy, being compassionate with yourself when your confidence comes and goes and recognizing it's OK to bring your full self to the work at hand.

Asked for the best advice she herself ever got, Yamiche mentioned two things I especially wanted to pass along to all of you:

  1. Be too busy for drama. Stay focused on working toward your dreams and what it is you aim to do. There's no need to make time for other people's pettiness, small mindedness or attempts to drive your agenda off track.
  2. Be nice. (Or "don't be a jerk.") Small gestures that build positive relationships will probably help you down the line. Broaden your network with good will. Then you'll find, when challenges come your way, others will be there to support you, too.

So in these last few weeks of the semester, take a page from Yamiche. Stay laser-focused on why you're here, and find time for kindnesses. When you do, you'll see positive returns, big and small, now and for years down the road. 


Dr. Vanden Bout 

Joke: (For you nutritional sciences majors) Why did the banana go out with the prune? Because it couldn't find a date.