Steve Sartori


This year’s graduates faced a less auspicious job market than did those who left us a couple years ago. A dip in the national economy plus the effects of September 11 meant that fewer SU seniors had solid job offers by the time Commencement 2002 arrived. While the economy is turning around now, new college graduates from SU and elsewhere have to work harder at finding employment in their fields of study than in previous years.

I offer our graduates the following advice, which I believe is useful to just about anyone who’s actively seeking work:

Get Used to Uncertainty—Ups and downs in the economy and in life in general are to be expected. Reality therapists and a host of other respected experts tell us it is our attitude toward events, more than the events themselves, that is important. Good things do happen as a result of hard work, but not every time. Still, an accepting attitude is the key to moving on in the face of disappointment.

Continue Learning—Earning a degree is only the beginning. People who upgrade their skills continuously are ahead of the game throughout their lives. Continuing to learn may or may not mean acquiring additional degrees, but it does mean being open to change and learning to adapt effectively.

Become More Resilient—Some people have an innate capacity to overcome tremendous odds and survive major catastrophes. But I believe that resilience is a skill that can be learned. It requires developing flexibility, talking oneself out of negative thinking, believing in something greater than oneself, and having at least one other person with whom to share thoughts and perceptions.

Work at Job-Seeking—People who find meaningful work in their field of study are those who treat the job hunt like a job itself. They rise early, dress as if they are going to work, and put in a 10-hour day making calls, sending out resumes, searching the Internet, going to conferences, and so on. They accept interviews for jobs they might well refuse if offered, just for the experience of talking about themselves and their plans for the future.

Get a Life—Finally, living only to work is not a good idea. That path leads to burnout and too much stress. It’s important to work hard by making a commitment to a career, but it’s equally important to develop solid relationships and set aside time for rest, relaxation, exercise, and continuous learning.

I am pleased to report that our students are resilient, are willing to roll with the punches, and have a thirst for knowledge in abundance. This is a tribute to their own efforts and to the faculty and staff who mentored them. Just like the thousands of graduates who preceded them, the members of the Class of 2002 are willing and able to take on whatever comes their way.

Kenneth A. Shaw
Chancellor and President



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