Having it All Come Together

Friday was the summer edition of Welcome to the Majors.  A mere 600 new students entered the College.  The event is part of our students’ first professional development class.  The classes are led by Lonny Butcher.  Lonny is hell-bent on getting students great jobs before they leave UCF.  One of the things I stress at the event is the importance of getting engaged and developing a distinctive set of relationships, experiences, and perspectives while in the College that will land each student the job they want before they graduate.  We call this “getting to the one.” To achieve this goal, we push students hard to get them out of their comfort zones.  Not surprisingly, some students push back.

After the formal part of the program, Lonny and I hang around to network with students. Much to my surprise,  Bashaar Zainal, the Spring winner of our Failure Competition, sought me out to tell me how participating in the contest had given him the courage to help others persist in the face of adversity.  He promised me several students would be entering the next round of the competition.

Then when I returned to my office after the event, the following exchange between Lonny and a student was waiting in my mailbox….

From the student:

Mr. Butcher, 

First off, if a TA is reading this to see if it is worth Mr. Butcher’s time, yes, yes it is. Please forward this higher up accordingly. This is the email I have been waiting two years to send. Through these last 4 GEB courses, I have molded myself into a professionally dressed, interview acing, hand-written note writing, confidently speaking, networking, young professional. While at first glance, attending various workshops and having my resume critiqued were easy points to a “pointless one credit class”, but my perception of myself relevant to my peers, my idea of how to attain seemingly unattainable positions, and how to be “the one” were all due to the things I have learned and accomplished while in these courses. (All of my friends even ask me to critique their resumes now!)

 If you remember, I had thanked you a little under a year ago for your role in my motivation to find a professional internship. Since then, I have interned for Lockheed Martin and am currently a marketing intern for a small company in Altamonte Springs. Less than 24 hours ago I was offered a full time position to be a consultant for Ellucian, an international software company for higher education. This was my “reach” position that I spent three months interviewing for and had to give a 30 minute presentation in front of senior management (just to prove I won’t breakdown into the fetal position under pressure). I called my parents in tears when I was extended the offer, and was told by HR (off the record) that I was a priority candidate out of 25. 

 My point in emailing you was not to brag or bore you to death (hopefully you are still reading). I will graduate in August truly feeling like UCF invested as much in me as I did in it and your courses “made a believer out of me”. I came into UCF at the age of 17 two years ago, with only 3 months of being a Wendy’s Team Member on my meager resume. Now at 19, I have had three professional internships, and a full-time professional career waiting for me (that pays well above entry-level with benefits I didn’t even know I needed). I’ll get off my soap box now and just end on this: you rock, your team rocks, and GOOOO KNIGHTS!

 I wish you all the best! Who knows…maybe one day I’ll be back to give a presentation in The Exchange and new GEB’ers will pretend to listen to me while on Instagram. That’s the dream.

Lonny responded:

I cannot begin to thank you enough for this note.  I will say that by the time I hit your third paragraph, I definitely wasn’t bored.  I was overwhelmed with pride and joy for you.  You got to make a call to your parents that, in retrospect, I would have killed to make.  Congratulations on your job offer!!!  To be included in your accomplishment is an honor, thank you so much!

I’ve come to realize and accept that student’s early perceptions of the class are not necessarily what they will end with.  I am proud of your hard work, proud of your focus, and proud of your tenacity.  These are qualities that I want all of our students to have.  And to hear that this was your reach job makes me even happier!!  How amazing!!!

Funny you should mention the Exchange….  In the Fall I will be hosting a session just for GEB 3003 students where I’ll bring in students from 4004 and very recent grads to talk about how they leverage their activities to accomplish their goals.  I would be honored if you would be one of my speakers.  I don’t have details yet, but as soon as I do I’ll share them.  If you can make it, we’d love to have you!

I’ve also copied Dean Jarley and his Director of Communication, Erika Hodges on this so they know what you accomplished.  Today we held the summer Welcome to the Majors where Dean Jarley told students about getting to the One.  Congratulations, you’ve fulfilled his charge.  YOU ARE THE ONE! 

I am so proud of you!!!  Congratulations and I look forward to hearing from you as you continue to grow and succeed!!

Lonny

I love it when things all come together: Failure Competition, Exchange, Getting to the One…Best Welcome to the Majors day yet.

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2 thoughts on “Having it All Come Together

  1. It was certainly a pleasure meeting you Dr. Jarley! It’s nice when all the puzzle pieces fit nice and snug. This was my third Welcome to the Majors and I have to agree with you…this past one was the best one yet! Let’s just promise ourselves to make the next one even bigger in the Fall. See you there!

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