“Dreams are what students are made of. If you want to predict the future, ask what students are dreaming” – Melvene Hardee
So the title of this blog may be a little strange, until you know the context. I think I shall dedicate this first blog to explaining that context.
Why is it that we seem like everything we do, our philosophy on life, work, love, etc., needs to boil down to one quote? When you do ice breakers in a group, one of the questions that is inevitably asked is, “What quote/lyrics/motto do you feel describes you and why?” With that mindset upon entering graduate school, I decided I had to pick one quote that summed up not only me, but my philosophy in working with students.
I was attending Florida State University (Go Noles), and the Higher Education Program there was founded by a woman named Melvene Hardee. For most of my first year, I simply looked at her as a person who had their picture in the office that the faculty used, and started this thing called the LifeNet, a way for alumni to stay informed about the program and the current students.
It wasn’t until the beginning of my second year when I heard the quote that would go on to define my professional work, which is seen at the beginning of this post. It was read simply, and could have been forgotten had something on that day touched me with it, and I realized that all I hope to inspire in students is dreams. Dreams of what their involvement can look like, of what their community will accomplish, of how their programs and initiatives can be bigger and better.
And then it hit me… I am in the business of making dreams come true (maybe I was Walt Disney in a prior life). My ability to directly affect the University I work at is limited to the number of students I can inspire to dream bigger. Be that in small groups, 1 on 1 meetings, advising, supervising, or just remembering a student’s name, every interaction is an opportunity to make a life better than it was prior to your involvement.
So while I have left the program and the institution that has direct connection to Dr. Hardee, I can take her message of inspiration to a new group. I guess you can say that I am trying to live through that, and create an environment where student dreams really do shape our future. While I never had the chance to meet Dr. Hardee face to face, I like to think she would approve of her message going to anyone who gets an e-mail from me.
So what are your students dreaming, and how can you help them be better than they think is possible?