I have been thinking about all of the students who are about to graduate and the new students who will begin the AIM Program in June. Graduates may be moving into the job market or starting a postgraduate program, but there are still many unknowns. New students may be embarking on their first graduate experience or their first online course. It takes courage to start that first step and to follow through on the commitment. This blog post is dedicated to those courageous souls facing new adventures.
Courage is defined on Dictionary.com as “the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear.” I am not sure that having courage means you have no fear. Instead, I think it is a managed fear. Think back to the last time you ventured into the unknown. What pushed you into that new venture? Was it to alleviate discomfort in your current situation? Were you seeking a reward? Or were you curious as to what the new experience would bring? The first time I skydived, there was definitely some fear involved, but there was also curiosity. In my case, the curiosity outweighed the fear.
Examples of Courage
One of the finest examples of courage I can think of is military service. These men and women face the unknown just by reporting for duty. They then face ongoing challenges if they are deployed to foreign lands to defend our freedom and security. They are not alone, but they courageously face the unknown despite their fears. I honor them for that courage.
Another example of courage is young people who move away from home and the towns they grew up in to better themselves through education or employment. It takes courage to build a new life. It gets easier as they continue to encounter new experiences, but that initial move can be daunting.
Change Takes Courage
I have come to understand that change takes courage, whether it be changing jobs, entering a new academic program, taking on new volunteer responsibilities, or changing a lifestyle. The pain of your current situation could make changing easier but it still takes courage to take the first step toward (hopefully) a better future.
I hope that you will take a moment this week to recognize someone who is facing a change with courage. Whether they are a new graduate or someone starting a new venture, congratulate them and wish them well as they confidently step forward.
Kelly Brown is an IT professional and assistant professor of practice for the UO Applied Information Management Master’s Degree Program. He writes about IT and business topics that keep him up at night.