Guiding Principles from Grad Career Services

In this guest post, Robert Coloney, Director of Grad Career Services, shares some advice on what principles will help us successfully navigate this Academic Year and beyond.

Welcome (back, should it apply to you) to the University of Notre Dame! Since 1842, the campus has always been most exciting when you, our students, grace it with your presence. After an extremely active summer planning and identifying ways to better provide value and insight to have a positive impact on your future, our Graduate Career Services team is ready to engage with you!

I firmly believe that life and our purpose therein becomes clearer as you allow yourself to embrace change, challenge, and faith. As you navigate to South Bend, either for the first time, or to continue a journey of exploration, you are undoubtedly called to have a profound impact on the world around you. Much like Father Edward Sorin, each of you have seen beauty, promise, and a future in the University of Notre Dame, and yourselves. Upon arriving on the banks of the St. Joseph River, and writing back to Father Basil Moreau in 1842, Father Sorin knew of the tremendous potential, believed in the opportunity, and in turn, founded our University…YOUR University. As we begin this academic year, we, the administration of this University, see that same tremendous potential, and believe in your opportunity to enact positive change on our nation, and our world. Throughout this year, and your time at the University of Notre Dame, I encourage you to stand by a few principles (from a career perspective, and beyond):

  • Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable. Allow yourself to be challenged. Go beyond the realms of where you’ve ventured before. Say “YES,” more than you say “NO.” By allowing yourself to experience all that the University has to offer, you will be immersing yourself in the tremendous educational opportunity you’ve afforded yourself through your tireless effort and work to this point. To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice your innate gift; experience everything.
  • Find a Sherpa. No one would dare climb to the top of Mount Everest without one. In turn, no one is expecting you to navigate a challenging journey alone. Find a mentor, administrator, staff member, faculty member, or better yet, all of the above. Ask questions! Graduate School is challenging, but we’re all in this mission together. We want you to succeed, and want to ensure you have every tool available to you in order to make that dream a reality.
  • Failure is not permanent, unless you allow it to be. Each one of us, at one point or another, has been humbled in this life. We’ve all succeeded, but, personally, I’ve learned far more from my failures than my successes. In fact, I attribute any success I’ve had to the learning experiences that bloom from failure. In the words of the inspiring Randy Pausch, “The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out; the brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. The brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough.”

When Father Sorin founded Notre Dame, and corresponded with Father Moreau, he recognized that while the future was unclear, and the undertaking significant, the potential was tremendous. “…this college cannot fail to succeed…Before long, it will develop on a large scale…It will be one of the most powerful means for good in this country.”

Since 1842, the University of Notre Dame has held true to those incredibly powerful words. Now, YOU are tasked with continuing the mission. I encourage you to take advantage of this very special place – we are lucky to have you, and cannot wait to work with you on achieving your dreams, and realizing your full potential.

Your Research Matters. You Matter. Be a Force for Good.

Robert J. Coloney