This blog is quickly becoming an annual tradition. I enjoy writing to future generations but I also enjoy the nostalgia that comes to mind when remembering my early days right out of the University of Florida. Instead of focusing only on graduates of Interior Design I decided to write this letter to students of all disciplines.
You’re on a precipice. It’s an exhilarating, exciting, albeit sometimes terrifying, time! Focus on the goodness. Focus on the newness, the adventure. Our world is crazy, but there’s always beauty to be found. Find a mentor. As you have conversations with vendors, colleagues, and collaborators, do a silent interview. Consider whether they could be the person to help you reach the next level in your career. Having a go-to person that I could reach out to for both personal and professional matters throughout the bulk of my career has been transformational. Learn from your mentor, ask questions and truly actively LISTEN. Consider being a mentor in the future so you can pay it forward.
Join networking associations. Ask your supervisor which would be the most beneficial to you as a professional but also to the company at large. Remember, everyone considers WIIFM (What’s in it for me?) So be the person to consider What’s in it for US? Networking is a buzzword these days but at the end of the day, people do business with those they know, like and trust. Networking offers the opportunity to become just that for others.
With climate change, social justice reform, and the housing affordability crisis, there is no excuse not to get involved in doing something to change tomorrow. You’re part of a community now, find out how to become a leader. It doesn’t mean you have to be loud or even extraverted. The unsung heroes behind the scenes that help move initiatives forward are as important as the frontrunners. Be you, find something that you’re deeply passionate about and take a stand!
UF College of Design, Construction & Planning, class of 2005