Around three years ago a friend sent me the video clip below. I had the privilege of watching a young man from Mt Roskill Grammar give a speech as part of his responsibility as a prefect in Year 13. It made the news and has had 118,605 views on that programme alone. His school friend videoed it too and that screening has had 123,064 views - watch the 5-minute video below.
Joshua chose to come to AUT to study a Bachelor of Communication Studies and completed the degree last year. He was selected on behalf of the Bachelor of Communications Studies student body to speak at their graduation. I find both his speeches very moving and inspiring. It is interesting to watch the boy become a man. I didn't really think very much about my son's (Sam) progress from Year 13 to graduation but Joshua's videos have made me think more about the man Sam has become, his developing passion for social justice, for environmental issues and for a more peaceful planet. Graduation is an important day in their and our lives because it marks another transition into the world of work and gives a moment to pause, congratulate them on their effort and hard work, and appreciate the young adults they have become.
We always take photos of our children starting school and progressing to high school. I don't think I took any of Sam starting out at uni. Maybe we should.
Here is Joshua's graduation speech reflecting this transition.
As graduation nears for many of our sons and daughters, their thoughts are turning to the world of work. To ensure that they have the best chance of securing their dream job, I suggest they visit the AUT Employability Lab, The AUT Employability and Careers team is here to give your son or daughter the support to become a highly employable and well-rounded AUT graduate. Our friendly employability and career specialists focus on helping students develop the skills to stand out to employers when looking for a work placement or graduate job.
As they explore and research their options, we as parents need to stand back a little but we may still be able to assist with our own contacts and networks to help them get the start they need.
My Sam has taken a job on minimum wage but one that enhances his plant knowledge as an ecologist. He continues to apply for jobs that use more of his skills. He has had several interviews so far and these all hone his interviewing skills and experience. He is prepared to leave Auckland, although that is not his personal preference, and understands that he may not get the perfect job straight away. We need to support our children through disappointments and encourage resilience to rejections as some companies don't even acknowledge an application. That's life and you just have to persevere.
As parents, we can help by checking their CV and encouraging them to do some research, some networking and some cold calling which may not come easily to more reticent students. Next month AUT scholar support is running alumni panels on each campus for scholars but they are able to bring friends. The panels will be AUT graduates who will tell their story about entering the workforce. None of their stories will be straightforward or smooth because most of us don't just walk into a perfect job with a fabulous salary.
Mind you, we can always hope our child is the next Mark Zuckerman who debuted on the rich list at the age of 23 with a net worth of $1.5 billion...At 24, my son is already too old!
As always, I welcome stories and shared wisdom from parents about their own experiences with their children.