Commencment brings future into perspective for new editor

Rebecca Watts - Editor-in-Chief

Rebecca Watts – Editor-in-Chief

Rebecca Watts

As I attended the winter 2006 commencement ceremony, I saw great things besides my only brother shaking Dr. Julio León’s hand. I found the qualities of a successful graduate are confidence, knowledge, experience and potential.

If you’ve ever encountered a graduate, they’re the ones with a confident stride and a meaningful tone in their voice. When they speak, there’s no thoughtless “verbal vomit” as Parker Willis calls it, and what they have to say should be heard. They’re not scared to share their opinions, thoughts and dreams. There’s an amazing amount of growth people achieve within a few years time. I’ve heard faculty comment on the incredible difference between freshmen and seniors, because the first few years of college are all about trial and error. Of course, seniors have experienced the college life and have chosen to continue the pursuit of knowledge.

Knowledge is important in all areas and should be ranked high on priority lists of all students. However, knowledge is not only found in a textbook. Students should learn about other people, different styles and hopefully learn how to think outside many boxes. An instructor once told me to “think outside the box” and a fellow classmate asked, “which box?” There are so many different angles from which problems can be approached, and the knowledge obtained from college is the key to all sorts of locks. After that, everything else falls into place.

In the pursuit of knowledge you may notice the extreme amount of time required. With time comes experience, and as Missouri Southern head track coach Tom Rutledge once said, “You can’t put a price on experience.” He is correct. Most of the time, the only aspect seniors can hold over the freshmen is the experience.

I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to take advantage of Missouri Southern’s international mission, and to travel before graduation. Did you know that last year 195 students studied abroad? That’s only 3.4 percent of the student population. I challenge Southern to make it at least 5 percent by 2010.

Experiencing a different culture in a different country is as enlightening as any other shocking revelation. It takes an individual out of his or her comfort zone, and forces the mind to expand. It opens eyes to all the little things taken for granted, with space a significant example. People with experience have the ability to enhance their skills further. This potential is what we should pursue until the day we leave this life.

People with potential have a fire in their eye. There’s an attitude of “I dare you to try and stop me” in their speech. They’re always looking of ways to improve, ways to learn more and keep an ambitious spark in their work. Potential means never settling and always keeping an open mind to changes or alterations. When something changes the individual takes constructive criticism well and tries to see all points of view.

By the time an individual graduates, they will have obtained these aspects to tackle the world.

We should think of our graduates as contributions to the world from our University. Confidence, knowledge, experience and potential are the qualities that make a successful graduate. And a successful graduate is what I strive to be at the end.