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Jenny Sokol - A Message to Fellow Graduates

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Jenny Sokol
MA Strategic Communication

This is a message from a graduate student old enough to be your mother.

And now the metaphorical umbilical cord is being cut.

We, my friends, are being tossed out into the world to either thrive or survive. This is the day we begin to carve out a career in the profession we’ve wanted to pursue since we were 7 years old. This is the make or break moment.


I’m here to tell you that this is A beginning.
That there is no such thing as failing.
And that we can invent ourselves… and reinvent ourselves… and find ourselves… for the rest of our lives. And it is wonderful.

So…do you love PR or Marketing? Print or digital media? Television journalism or script writing? What do you love? What best suits your skills and passion? At this point, who knows?

Yet AU has helped guide us. Imbued us with a sense of the options and given us a solid education and foundation to stand on. We are communicators. That is what we know. And that is enough. We should wear as many hats as we possible can until something resonates deep inside. And, trust me, it will.  

Going forward—with today marked as the Great Day One—we must remember three things:

Number One: Tell the Truth.

As a communicator—our job—regardless of our industry—is to connect. Connect ideas to people, people to people, and – if we are good at what we do—people to action.

Our audiences must trust us

  • To shine a light on injustice
  • To illuminate the truth
  • To be objective and allow our audiences to make their own informed decisions

Some of you may be asked to spin a web of half-truths for a politician, or put lipstick on the pig of a dishonest organization.
Don’t do it.

There are a lot of jobs and corporation out there looking for people with integrity. People who value telling the truth. Find one of those jobs.

The second thing we must do is take risks.
Volunteer for tasks you aren’t qualified for. Be terrified. It’s okay to feel nauseous on your first day of work. On the day of a big presentation or meeting with an important client. That feeling lets us know we are taking risks, putting ourselves out there and really living.

Lastly—and this is a weird one-- be vulnerable.

Being vulnerable goes hand in hand with telling the truth. We must admit when we don’t know what to do. Ask for mentorship and guidance. And tell people what we want, what motivates us, what we dream of. 

Tomorrow is the first day of many on a long journey.
If you tell the truth, take risks and be vulnerable I can promise you that the road will NOT be smooth. Those are the times you will know that you are truly living. 

Take it from a mother who knows