I’m getting ready to usher in a new group of scholars tomorrow and I have to admit – I’m excited. It happens to be my twelfth (yes, 12th) group. I always get a little sad knowing that it’s already time to move onto another group since, over the past year, we really develop some awesome relationships, get to know each other’s little quirks and idiosyncrasies, and get into the groove of working together and having some fun. Of course this cycle repeats and the exciting part is that it repeats with a totally new group, complete with their own set of stories and challenges and personalities.
I often get asked the question – what qualities are you looking for in a McNair scholar. As I’m preparing my “opening spiel” (where I lay it all out in terms of what the group is signing up for as part of the deal) – I’m thinking about my “top five” traits. A bunch come to mind, but if I have to whittle it down to the core, this is what I’m going with.
>>> OPEN MINDED
McNair is really about charting your future, figuring out your passion, especially as it relates to potentially advancing your education beyond college. I think the *best* scholars are always exploring, always asking questions (of themselves and others), always willing to “try things on” to see how it might fit – whether that be a particular type of research, a new mentor or a certain graduate program in an exciting (and maybe a little scary) new location. It’s always about probing, stepping it up a notch (read: going balls out and not being lazy), being willing to perhaps be a little “uncomfortable” in the growth process and it’s always about grabbing hold of every opportunity that comes your way. And being thankful for it.
McNair is special. The McNair opportunity is special. And you are special. Boy, that sounds cool, doesn’t it? But seriously, I welcome this new group and I’m putting out the challenge to each and every one of you —- don’t waste this opportunity. Grab hold and give it all you got. Be true to who you are and be supportive of your fellow scholar mates. Remember that this is about YOU and your journey. It just so happens that all of our journeys are crossing paths right now – let’s all take advantage of this connectivity and see where it might take us next!
P.S. It goes fast. All of the sudden, it’s going to be this time next year and you’ll be – where did it all go? Right?