Commencement 2012 is now over. My department will look a bit different come fall. Best of luck to those moving forward.
Category Archives: Commencement
Hebert did a great job giving the senior reflection last night. Both of my star students, Tut and Look gave great valedictorian and salutatorian speeches; we had two students admitted to the service academies. Thus, the military sent representatives to hand them their commission. I am still not sure why a Senator must write a letter for students they do not know. I did not stick around too long. Mucho things that needed to get done. Best to the class of 2011.
Above: Our diverse faculty. See if you can find me.
College Graduates: What You Need to Know about Transitioning into the Working World by Mariana Ashley
I am headed to commencement; it should be “neat”I suspect. This will be my 11th such affair, and 7th here at HCHS. I received a post from Mariana Ashley, a freelance writer who particularly enjoys writing about online colleges. She loves receiving reader feedback, which can be directed to mariana.ashley031 @gmail.com. I think many of you graduating will find her piece of most help.
Above: Metoyer (chair), Sivils, Malouf, Bourland, Phenicie, and Carson. The history department took a second to take this departmental picture just before HCHS 2009 commencement. This will be Casey Bourland’s last commencement with us as she is set to leave the department.
Graduation season is here, and that can only mean one thing: college grads will soon begin to embark on a new journey in their lives— and if fortunate enough, that new journey will include employment in a desired field. But transitioning into the working world is a rude awakening for those that are used to mid-week late nights with friends, are accustomed to showing up for classes late with no consequences, and especially for those who love starting classes at noon. To help recent college grads adapt to work-life and to get some insight of what to expect, continue reading below.
5. Be Aware of Time and Get Sleep.
If you were the type that liked to schedule their first class at noon because you are a night owl who likes to sleep in late, you might struggle adjusting to your new work schedule, especially if you have the standard 9 to 5 work hours. But it’s important that you get the proper 6 to 8 hours of sleep in order to improve your performance and productivity levels. Think about: it is extremely difficult to be able to complete hard tasks at hand when you are sleepy or drowsy. This isn’t college any more, you don’t just have to show up and hear the professor talk for 50 minutes while you sit back and relax, you actually have to get rest so that you can focus and do your work. You can’t just skip work entirely just because you are too tired either like in your college days. So don’t nap, drink caffeine or exercise two to three hours before your bed time—these stimulants will keep you up all night.
On a similar note, you need to make sure that you always make it to work on time. Your “cool” professors may have been ok with you showing up to class just a few minutes late, but this kind of behaviour can actually get you fired. So if you think that binge-drinking on a Tuesday night with friends might jeopardize you waking up in enough time, then maybe you should consider moving the “party-time” to the weekend. You also need to invest in a good alarm and give yourself plenty of time to get ready in the morning. And don’t worry— getting up early will get easier over time as your body begins to condition itself.
4. Exuberate Professionalism at all Times.
This might seem like a given, but many new college graduates actually forget that they are surrounded by co-workers and not their college buddies. With that said, it’s important that your refrain from using slang, participating in office gossip and sharing inappropriate stories about your life, at least early on. In other words, maintain a sense of professionalism in the workplace at all times. This also includes “looking” professional such as having neatly groomed hair and wearing appropriate and wrinkle-free clothing—this isn’t like college where you can roll out of bed in our pajamas.
On a similar note, you want to make sure that you don’t start your new career as a Mr. or Miss Know-it-all. The truth is that you don’t know it all, college has not prepared you for everything and you are in training. You’re new, so listen and take everything in. It’s ok that you are eager to learn, but don’t step on any body’s toes in the process.
3. Get to Know Your Co-Workers.
For many college grads who find employment right out of school, they are forced to relocate to other cities and are torn away from their friends and family. Having to cope with living in a new city and being immersed into a new job solo is very scary. Thus, try to get to know your co-workers right away so that you establish some sort of support system in the workplace at least—they will be the ones that give your praise when you accomplish something or will show you the ropes at your new job for example. They may even very well become your friends and may be able to introduce you to the city and other people. Try to branch out by inviting them to lunch and attending happy hours.
2. Break Monotony.
If you get a standard office job, you will learn all too quickly that a 9 to 5 can get pretty old. One of the easiest ways to prevent boredom is to make sure that you vary up your routine a bit. This can include anything from going a different route to work each morning to trying that new Indian restaurant for lunch to even making plans with friends after work so that you have something to look forward to. Whatever you do, find out ways to prevent you from feeling like you’re in a rut—your career has just started, you will have to endure this lifestyle for a very long time.
1. Don’t Stress If You didn’t Land Your Dream Job.
If after working for a few months you realize that this job is not exactly what you had envisioned yourself doing, don’t fret. Some don’t know exactly what they want to do fresh out of college and thus many college graduates do entry-level work and accept job offers at companies that aren’t directly associated with their degrees just to get their foot in the door. All experience is relative and if after a year or so you still find yourself unhappy and truly want to find another place of employment then go for it.
I. The Run
I was set to do an 18 mile training run this morning before work, but I got up way too late to get cover the miles. But, I feel great after doing a 15 mile training run at a 7:55 pace.
II. The Exam
I gave my last final today; it was for one section of world history. I assigned mucho writing questions. Better yet, the entire exam was an endurance test on hand cramping. Lots of writing was expected; okay, that was not the case for some. Just about done marking them.
III. As I write, I am expecting a call from the Dean of Faculty at a Tampa school who has agree to do some writing with me for the National Association of Independent School conference; we are in the drafting stage right now. I am excited to be working with an established leader in independent schools on this endeavour. I hope to blog more on this.
I will be joining the rest of the faculty for tonight’s class of 2010 commencement ceremony.
Above: Dr. Yevette Perry, head of the Distinguished Scholars Program and Carson
Commencement went very well this past Friday; our speaker did a nice job conveying the importance of the journey a’la academics and life. I was impressed with our #1 student’s speech; Lerin Rutherford, one of my star students and a past guest contributor to this blog (see here & here) shared with us the evolving and constant growth of this years graduating class. She briefly told the story of how this class has much to offer the world as they continue to grow into butterflies; I think that is true for some but not all. We have a number of solid students here. I wish them well as many are heading as far east as New York, while others are off to California.
Above: Diane Creekmore, head of the English Department
h/t: Jeff and Debbie Grooms
I had a great trip to Fayetteville, Arkansas — home to the University of Arkansas. Jeff Grooms’ commencement went well — though I wish he were the guest speaker. Later, both tornado warnings and watches marked the afternoon; I did not realize this until I arrived in the state, but Arkansas has experienced the second most deaths due to weather (22) behind either Tennessee or Ohio (33). Tim and Debbie Grooms (Jeff’s parents) treated everyone to some Champaign and dinner that evening. I tried not to dominate the conversation with Jeff and Amy, but they are two of my favorite former students, though I view them more as friends these days. Jeff impressed me with his expansive knowledge and insight into a number of historical problems; I was not surprised seeing that he has more cords around his neck than I did upon my graduation.
Of course, I was also reminded that I was in Arkansas. Sunday morning Janette and I got up to have breakfast at a local diner. While enjoying both my breakfast and conversation, I could not help but listen to a couple of rednecks behind me pontificate about how Mexicans are abusing their resources without paying taxes (whatever). We spent Sunday afternoon in what must be the best independent bookstore in America, the Dickson Street Bookstore. When I was a graduate student then an instructor at CAC, I would often make drives to Fayetteville just to immerse myself in hours of book hunting. I have traveled to a number of places that house an academic base – – but it is here that one can find books stacked from the floor to the ceiling. Because it is a used buy/sell bookstore, there is very little organization outside of a general area (i.e., 19th century English Lit section here). After all of us visited the bookstore, we had dinner at this cool microbrew resturant across from the bookstore; I cannot remember the name.
I am leaving for the University of Arkansas in 30 minutes; Jeff Grooms, a close friend and former student will be graduating with a degree in German and European history. Jeff, and his wife Amy Clothier were a part of the last AP European history class I taught in 2004 at CAC (N. Little Rock, AR). I enjoyed my time with both Jeff and Amy on and off campus. Having the two of them over to the house was always a treat. The entire Grooms’ family made my stay at CAC a joy. I taught Jeff’s brother Kendel my second year at CAC. Much like Jeff, Kendel was fun to be around on and off campus; he introduced me to the band Ho Hum one night while out at Little Rock’s Juanitas.
I think all of us have those we would love to work with. As jeff starts and completes his PhD in European history, I will be be recruiting him to be my colleague one day. The picture above is from Jeff and Amy’s wedding two years ago. I made a quick 7 hour drive north to attend.Today, it will be a very slow 9hr drive. Good luck in graduate school Jeff….We are very proud of your accomplishments. I will see you in a few hours.
I congratulated yet another group of students as I watched them march across the stage Thursday night to receive their diploma. As always, the speaker was great and families misbehaved as their graduate was handed his /her empty diploma cover. Houston Christian High School students should feel proud to know that they survived a very demanding curriculum. Unlike a number of high schools, our students must take 4 years of a math, science, history, religion, and English. Moreover, our curriculum does not permit much room for “blow off” courses or job prep assignments that allow students to leave campus for work at noon.
I really do enjoy attending commencement; it is another reminder that I am blessed to be doing what I set out to do years ago. Both CAC and Houston Christian have allowed me to not only teach a number of exceptional students, but to also develop a number of meaningful relationships with former students. I still can be found years later having lunch or a cup of coffee with some of them. The young man I am standing with is Dorian Ojeman; he will be attending Rice University in the fall. You may recall that I wrote about all of the exceptional schools on his pick list; I think he will enjoy Rice.
The good looking group of scholars dressed in academic regalia represents the department of history and social science. We are a smart department with no egos; I have managed to keep mine in check of late. We recently added an appointment to our department, giving us a total of six members. Our department is made up of Gabe Malouf, Kevin Sivils, Christine Metoyer, Suzan Phenicie, and myself. With my 7th year complete, I will spend a few days in the office next week taking care of a few projects, cleaning out my files, and trying to locate my desk. I will also start preparing for my fall courses and summer conference travels. We teachers have it made.