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Ask the Dean: What advice do you have for students about to graduate?

Ask the Dean is a weekly column by MTU’s Dean of Students, Dr. Wallace Southerland III, where students can submit questions for him to answer. To submit a question, email or fill out our Google Form.


Question: What advice do you have for students about to graduate?


Dear Submitter,


First, I offer my heartfelt congratulations to the graduates. I wish them well and hope they are confident that Michigan Tech has prepared them for what’s to come. I want them to go out into the world and create positive social change wherever they are. I want them to be the most exceptional and confident employees. I want them to be responsible citizens and kind to others. I pray that the graduates will be great and grateful, resilient and resourceful, competent and compassionate, ethical and just, and formidable.


My advice:


  •       Don’t be so serious. Laugh. Have fun.
  •       Trust yourself and take a leap of faith sometimes.
  •       Enter and exit your new workplace or graduate school with grace and humility.
  •       Learn to listen more than you talk. We have two ears and one mouth for a reason.
  •       Solve conflict by “seeking first to understand then to be understood.”
  •       Take responsibility for your actions.
  •       Don’t be afraid of accountability.
  •       Don’t rely on others to motivate you. You must be self-motivated to achieve your goals.
  •       Be responsible for your own morale.
  •       Husky UP – get it done!


Your Dean of Huskies,

Dr. S.


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