The Marvellous Dr Seuss
Last night I had the absolute pleasure to be guest speaker at the HE Graduation evening at Telford College.
As a non graduate myself I can only begin to imagine how each of the graduates felt to be finally reaching the end of their learning journey.
The whole process got me thinking about learning as a whole and I felt compelled to share what I said to the group which, I hope sums up a small part of why I do what I do and why Salt Solutions exists in the way it does today.
We’d love to know about your learning journey, no matter what stage you are at. So please leave comments if you have any gems you’d like to share.
Maybe your story will inspire someone else to take a step forward towards achieving more great things…
I think there’s something very special about places of learning. Whether it’s a nursery school, a HE college or a University. It’s always the start of a great adventure.
The ability to learn is a skill we are born with. We learn to crawl, we learn to speak and we learn to read but most importantly we learn to think, and to question and to understand. Once we have the ability to make sense of things and to make sense of where we fit into the world we can start to gather the skills and knowledge to move us forward through life.
In the room this evening we are able to take a snapshot of a moment in your education, we can almost see a line in the sand and we can use that to measure how far each of you has come since you started your formal education and your education here at Telford College.
More importantly, in 5months, 5yrs and 25yrs from now you will be able to recognise how much more you have progressed from where you are today. And that is something you must NEVER, EVER lose sight of. Learning is sometimes easy, sometimes fun but sometimes it’s just plain hard work. But whatever you learn PROMISE ME YOU WILL NEVER FORGET how much you have learned, how far you have come, how much you have grown.
Most of us know how to walk, talk and chew gum but it wasn’t always that way. And sometimes things become so automatic to us that we forget we are using acquired skills and knowledge.
Now. My understanding is that your newly acquired knowledge makes up a real mix of skills. In the room this evening we have people who are qualified in
- Health and Social Care
And whatever comes next for you can only move you forward towards greater things. If I’m honest I’m just a teeny bit envious of each of you. It took me a long long time to recognise the value of learning. When I was your age I thought I already knew enough to get me through life.
I thought that having a job was the most important thing I could achieve but I never really knew what that job would be. In fact, throughout my career I have done jobs that didn’t even exist when I left school. But I was wrong.
It turned out the most important thing that I could achieve was to be myself. To recognise my strengths, know when I needed to knuckle down and work hard and to cut myself some slack when I things didn’t go according to plan. When I left school I was going to study Sociology, Psychology and English but the idea of earning my own money somehow seemed more appealing so I quit my college course and went out to work.
Fast forward over 30yrs and despite running my own business with reasonable success for 10yrs I’m about to start studying for a degree in counselling and psychology. At the age of 52 I’m going back to formal learning and I hope in 3yrs time I’ll be attending my own graduation ceremony.
Now that doesn’t mean I haven’t continued to learn throughout my adult life. I’ve been on that many training courses and read that many books on subjects that interest me and I’m sure you will all do the same but it’s what you do with this newly acquired knowledge that matters most.
How do you make sure you make best use of all of the effort you’ve put in up until now?
I have a few quotes that over the years have really helped to keep me on track and I’d like to share them with you this evening. These are quotes that may not speak directly to you today but in time, I am pretty sure, they will give you food for thought. Even if you decide to dismiss or disagree with everything I am about to say I’ll still feel I’ve done my job this evening. I will still be glad that I helped you to make an active decision about what you do or don’t think about learning and about life.
Be True To Yourself
Former President Of South Africa Nelson Mandela. Famously incarcerated for 27 years for standing up for what he believed in said: ‘’Do Not Judge Me By My Successes, Judge Me By How Many Times I Fell Down And Got Back Up Again.’’
Remember Where You Came From
French Author And Diarist Anais Nin Who Started Writing Her Journal At The Age Of 11 And Continued Doing So For 60 Decades. ”Life Shrinks Or Expands In Proportion To Ones Courage.”
Take What You Do Seriously But Please Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously.
World Class Author, Poet And All Round Genius Dr Seuss Of The Cat In The Hat Fame Is A Particular Favourite Source Of Inspiration For Me. Id’ like to share a poem with you that feels particularly fitting for a day like today. Who says Dr Seuss is just for kids?
Today is your day
You’re off to great places
You’re off and away
You’ve got brains in your head
You’ve got feet in your shoes
You can steer yourself any
Direction you choose
You’re on your own
And you know what you know
And you are the guy
Who’ll decide where you go
Out there things can happen
And frequently do
To people as brainy
And footsy as you
And will you succeed?
Yes you will indeed!
(98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed)
You’re off to great places
Today is your day
Your mountain is waiting
Go, get on your way!”