Resume or eulogy?

Are you living your eulogy or your resume?” So goes the title of Arianna Huffington’s blog in a recent edition of Huffington Post that just so happened to coincide with the Career Fair. Her post reminded me of the importancour résumée of our work in higher education and, more precisely, in Student Affairs. Huffington defined what she calls the Third Metric, which redefines success as more than power and money. In her mind, success also includes well-being, wisdom, and one’s ability to wonder and give. The premise is that because we are so consumed with our work, i.e. creating our résumé, we lose sight of what really matters: who we care about, how we engage in life, how we treat others and the way in which our passions our manifested, i.e. our eulogy.

So how do you decide between creating your résumé and living your eulogy? As students, you came to Tech for a reason: to get an education that will prepare you for a successful career and meaningful life after graduation. Yes, this education comes from lectures in the classroom, hours in labs, and energy spent on Senior Design projects—but it also comes from the process through which it is obtained. As educators we challenge you to consider all of the things that contribute to a robust resume: scholarly endeavors, leadership activities, and other experiences that will make you stand out and differentiate you from others. At the same time, we should be conscious of helping students to develop good life habits that include balance, exercise, rich social interaction, and positive relationships.

Over the course of the past few weeks, I have watched or participated in numerous events and activities where I have seen these rich and meaningful experiences (the process) come to life. You can see this through the enthusiasm shared with new students and families during move-in and welcome week, the laughter and plentiful hugs at K-Day, the confidence at the Career Fair, the immense pride that comes from Parade of Nations, and the expressions on the faces of those at the cardboard boat races when their boat capsizes. And while one may argue that these are all pieces that contribute to one’s résumé, in my mind they are more a reflection of a eulogy. Building résumés and getting jobs are important, but in the end, it is about enjoying the journey and making a difference in the lives of others. I am confident that through your engagement as bright, motivated, and inspiring students, you are well on your way to doing just that.