In addition to my day job, I also enjoy teaching undergraduate classes on campus. One semester, I started my Communications class with a simple instruction: Stand up and tell the class who you are in 30 seconds or less. This quick improvisation exercise is designed to help people focus on saying just the most important details that they need to convey.
The students had to decide within a matter of moments which aspects of their life they believed were appropriate to share with the group.
I immediately scanned the group for the body language that would clue me in to who would struggle with the assignment. Then I zeroed in one young lady who was twirling her hair and looked completely panicked. When it was her turn, she couldn’t articulate who she was. “Do you want to know where I’m from, or what I’m studying?” She asked several questions trying to gain some insights or direction on how she should respond. Her mind was so locked on responding with only what she thought would be the perfect answer, that she couldn’t say anything.
It’s important to reflect on the many facets of life that shape your worldview. You never know who may ask.
After several minutes of anguish, we agreed she should try again in the next class. When that time arrived and she was again asked to stand and say who she is, she responded with a well-crafted, memorized piece – not at all appropriate for the assignment.
Have you ever taken the time to consider who you are? If you had a chance to meet someone who could influence your future, would you be able to say quickly, clearly and succinctly what you’re about and what is most important to you? It’s important to reflect on the many facets of life that shape your worldview. You never know who may ask.
— Joan Dickinson, MA ‘12
Making educated career decisions can be difficult at any stage of career development. The ASK (Alumni Sharing Knowledge) Blog is intended for Stony Brook University students and alumni to learn career knowledge and get advice from experienced alumni, working in various career fields, about lessons learned from their career experiences.