It has been a long two years for my 2014 Grads and we are now in our final week of classes. Many students have great jobs lined up to jump into in the next few weeks and others plan on travelling and exploring the world this summer prior to getting their first job in the travel industry. As I prepare my class this week, I can’t help but reflect on my first jobs in the industry and how they shaped the way I view the world today.
Today we are so connected that we are disconnected with reality. The summer that I was 19 years old, I backpacked through Europe on my own, with no cell phone, no internet, and no social media and yet, I felt connected to the world, I missed my family and friends deeply all while being confident that they loved me and missed me too. I did not feel like I was missing things at home and I was experiencing real connections every day while I traveled. Today, I think with Blogs and Twitter, we get all sorts of little snapshots about peoples lives that can make us feel like we are missing out, this holds us back, weighs us down. I want to encourage my Grads to not let social media make you feel that your life is not as exciting as others. Live your life for you, not to post on Facebook.
This is the time for you to explore who you are and try lots of jobs, roles, activities and take some risks with what you want to do. Trust me on this, your twenties is the time for risk taking. I have no regrets in my life, but I do wish I had taken more risks when I was your age. This pictures is of me in 1991 standing at the “Beach Bar Paros” on the island of Paros in Greece. I worked here to fund my travels (I am the blond one in the black and pink tank top, second from the right, the others are the family that I worked for) It is memories of my risks and travels that help me when I have to be an responsible adult today. It is my travel memories that keep me going when I am marking papers late into the night. Life is not always easy, you too will need your memories and experiences to help you when things get difficult. Looking back helps you move forward and now is your chance to create those memories, take some risks, make it happen.
I am not going to write some corny list about what you need to do but I am going to say this. Now is your moment, your chance to soar, your opportunity to do great things. Do not let your exhaustion from exams and classes lull you into a slumber where your summer slowly slips away. Get a job, buy a plane ticket, do something, and please stay in touch. It has been a great privilege knowing you all. Now back to planning your last class, Selling New Zealand.
Pictures of me on the beach in Santorini and arriving in Ios 1991