Today is the first day of classes. There isn’t a handy word for that. We mark graduation with a ceremony, Commencement. The name means a beginning, in this case of the next phase of life for the graduates. We mark the beginning of the academic year with another ceremony, Convocation, which means a calling or coming together. We held our Convocation last night. Among the many wise words were those of our Chaplain, Charles Howard. He urged the entering class not to blindly conform. He reminded them that they were admitted because they stood out from the crowd, and hoped they would not be afraid to do so at Penn as well. Wise words indeed.
Chaplain Howard’s message resonated with me here at the start of the year as we in Career Services see many hundreds of students who are preparing for the future. We have, as it were, called them together to prepare for interviewing or graduate school applications. They hurry along well-trod paths. This may be fine, but too often we see students who are following the herd to particular employers or career fields. Here at the start of the semester, we urge Penn students to find and take their own path.
As you begin what for many of you is your final year at Penn, don’t be afraid to blaze a trail, or take a risk. Wherever your dreams may take you, you will be armed with the power of your Penn education. Find your path. We are here to help you.
On behalf of all of us at Career Services, have a great semester!