Are you ready for the ride?!

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Today I had the pleasure and honour to engage with our incoming first year business students at Simon Fraser University. This event ranks right up there with graduation and the BASS Banquet. Today is a special day because this is the start of a new chapter for so many people.

Some will thrive and some will face challenges. Some will go to a far away destination to study and some will stay close to home. Some will know exactly what they want and go down a path that is very direct while others will think they know a path and all of a sudden it will change. Some will do their degree as quick as possible and leave while others will take their time and discover their passion. Some will find their way to my office and we will build a life long friendship while there will also be many that I will not get to know. Many will graduate while some will decide upon a different path. I guess what I am trying to say is that while all come in and all are excited and concerned about what is about to happen, they are all starting off pretty much from a similar reference point…after today, they leave that reference point and will start their journey in a particular direction that is their choosing.

I still remember being in the lecture theatre and their seats many years ago. There was no orientation for me, there was no one to inform me about possibilities, and there was no focus and direction. All we did was go to school, make some friends and go home. There really was no sense of engagement or community. I got my alumni pin and put it safely away because I did not feel ready to wear it. How things have changed. While there are so many more opportunities now than when I was in school, it will still solely rest with the students to make the decision on what their path will be and how involved or engaged they will be. We can put it all out there and see what happens. All I know is that as I looked out into the audience today and I wonder what each person is going to accomplish while within the halls of Simon Fraser University.

I hope there is a lasting impression today because I want to help as many as possible succeed. When I wrote my Masters thesis on student engagement I said: “There are three positions in society that one can take: to be a leader who is a catalyst for change, a follower who is part of change, or someone who watches change develop and lets it happen. “ The last group is overcrowded; strive for the first where it is not so crowded and you will see far. Enjoy this time because it is not going to happen again!

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