I want UCF students to get a great education.  This is not just about whether they have a solid grasp of statistics, finance, marketing or management.  Understanding these topics gets you a good education, not a great one.  A great education requires things that transcend a specific course or major.

First there must be some “aha moments”: eye-opening interactions that expand your horizons; presenting you with new possibilities, challenges, and perspectives on the world. Aha moments come from interacting with accomplished faculty, dedicated staff and engaged students who challenge your values and world view while raising your aspirations.

Second, a great education helps students make good choices about their careers and life.  It allows students to realistically preview different paths, better understand their interests, strengths, and weaknesses, and helps them develop a realistic plan to achieve their goals.  This requires students to get out of their comfort zones, experiment, build relationships with people who are different than themselves and risk failure so that they can succeed.

Finally, a great education gives students the confidence, knowledge and skills to compete with anyone, anywhere, no matter what the competition’s pedigree.  This comes from being in a competitive environment that helps students improve their performance through sustained effort combined with strong developmental feedback.

If you got these three things, you got a great education.  And a tell-tale sign that someone got a great education is what baseball coaches call swagger.  They look for it when players step up to the plate.  It is a critical quality in a game where you fail (get out) way more frequently than you succeed (get a hit).  Ricky Henderson, perhaps the greatest lead-off hitter of all time was famous for repeating under his breath: “You are the greatest Rickey” every time he stepped into the batter’s box.  If he struck out, he could be heard saying on his way back to the dugout: “You’re still the greatest Rickey.”  Rickey had swagger and people wanted him on their team.

Knights need swagger too. Be prepared: I am going to be looking to instill some swagger in all of you.


4 thoughts on “Swagger

  1. Reading this entry reminded me what I tell my 11 years old son about picking a profession. I tell him there are three things he needs to consider when picking what to study, what to be when he “grows up”:

    1. He needs to like it, to the point that work becomes fun
    2. It needs to provide enough to decently sustain his family
    3. It needs to be useful enough, so a job can be found anywhere he goes

    And yet, it all starts with a great education.

    • Hi David, good advice. I especially stress doing what you love….you want a job where getting paid feels like you are stealing from them, not one where you feel like they are stealing from you…… 🙂

  2. Somehow, I just can’t imagine telling myself, “Cathy, you are the greatest” before each job interview, and “Cathy, you’re still the greatest” after each rejection, but I guess that’s what it takes these days! Thanks for the pep talk, Coach.

    • Hi Catherine:

      LOL…As your comment illustrates, swagger can manifest itself in more than one way. It is especially important during a job search. No matter how long or difficult an applicant’s job search has been, I have never hired anyone who didn’t project confidence in their skills and abilities as well as a willingness to compete during an interview. In a market where I have my choice of many candidates, why would I settle for less?

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