This will most likely be my final post on the UCLA Anderson blog. What prompted (possessed?) me to write this blog post is that I happened to run across today for the second time the late David Foster Wallace's speech, "This is Water." It was a commencement speech given to a graduating class of undergrads back in 2005.
I won't bore you with the details, but it really is a worthwhile video to watch when you have ten minutes to spare. At first glance, the immediate thought that came to mind was, "Wow, that's a bit cheesy," which makes sense given that it's a commencement speech addressed to a room full of starry-eyed (or open-mouthed) 22-year olds. But then, as the video kept playing, and as the late author's voice kept reverberating throughout in that quasi-didactic yet oddly-magnetic way, I began to get pulled into the deeper message lying behind the fancy graphics and pretty typefaces.
It really is so easy to get lost in the shuffle of each of our so-called "busy lives." It really is so easy to get pulled in so many directions that we just want to shut down and get ourselves off the grid. It really is so easy to forget that basic human compassion and kindness go such a long way in making someone's day go from terrible to bad to good to great to awesome. And this basic notion of being "aware" and "conscious" of others around us is so important. We are each the center of our own universe--that goes without saying--but we must understand that we, as students and graduates who have had the privilage of attending great undergrad colleges as well as a great business school, really hit the jackpot and have it so much better than many will ever experience in their lifetimes.
I wasn't intending for this post to become as philosophic as it now has, but I'm in a weirdly nostalgic and pensive mood so you guys will have to bear with me. Since graduating back in June of this year, I've become gainfully employed again (thank goodness!) and started working in a career path that I pursued in business school. I've also recently moved to San Francisco, which I love, and have met many new, amazing people who continue to help me grow in all aspects of my life. Is my life easy-ish, as it had been in bschool? Heck no! A meaningful career path will never be easy. It's not merely a job; it's a career. It'll take a whole bunch of adjusting before I feel comfortable enough to say that I'm comfortable in my job, and then it'll be up to me to keep myself engaged--to keep trekking and to keep learning.
So this is my advice to those still in school or thinking about going to school (wow, sorry it took so long to get to the punch line. This is why I could never be a writer by vocation)--life after bschool will be a challenge. A graduate degree will not be a silver bullet to end all tedium and boredom in life. Ennui is going to set in and people will career-hop and city-hop looking for the next best thing. But during this shuffle that we call life after business school, I hope that most of us will be able to take the time to appreciate all that we have, to appreciate those around us, and to keep forging ahead and keep growing--both in our selves as well as in our careers.
--Connie Kim, c/o 2013