Posted At: March 28, 2012 2:00 PM
by Katie Bishop
Last May my brother graduated from Tulane University. I attended his graduation ceremony where I was able to hear a commencement speech from three-time Pulitzer Prize winner Thomas Friedman. His speech was definitely something that resonated with me then, but with graduation now less than 40 days away, the relevance of his speech is still ringing in my ear.
Friedman spoke about the importance of optimism and hope. He stated, “Pessimists are usually right. Optimists are usually wrong, but all the change in the world was made by hope-filled optimists.” Closing in on graduation and job searching for that perfect career can be daunting — borderline depressing — but staying optimistic and hopeful is a must when job searching.
Finding a career for recent graduates is harder than ever, especially for those with only a bachelor’s degree. I believe that as long as we are positive, persistent and patient something will, eventually, come along.
The next lesson he spoke about was for people to not just “get the word,” meaning it’s not about receiving the message, it’s doing something about that message — making moves. We cannot forget that our country and economy are still the most open in the world.
Friedman stated that some of the most successful people in history are college dropouts: Mark Zukerburg, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and Michael Dell. Shouldn’t that make us feel better? We have more of an upper hand in this job hunt than we think. Know our strengths, play on those strengths and make moves, people.
The last lesson was about social media. Friedman stated that Facebook and Twitter can create a false sense of activism that could be deadly to a democracy, and I am sure this caution can be applied to companies, as well.
We cannot solely rely on social media in any circumstance. Cool, you started a Facebook page for some organization, blogged about something or emailed a couple of résumés. Friedman said that’s like firing a mortar into the Milky Way galaxy. We have to remember that the most important people are not found on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.
Friedman finished the speech stating that graduates these days, if they want to be successful, “Have to get off Facebook and into somebody’s face.” Now if I could just apply this myself.