Dailey: ‘Can do’ attitude will open doors

Columnist John A. Dailey shares the most important lesson in his college career.

John Dailey

John DaileyExperiences transform us into who we will become by teaching us. In my time at Temple, I have learned one valuable lesson.

My name is John A. Dailey and I’ve been a Temple student for the last five years. At the time of this writing, I’ve got roughly one week of classes until I earn my degree in marketing from Fox School of Business and graduate into the “real world.”

Yes, it’s totally surreal and I cannot help but look back with nostalgia mixed with tinges of regret and forward-looking thoughts of trepidation and excitement—blah, blah, blah. I won’t bore you with that crap.

In my time as a student, I’ve learned many a lesson and had the opportunity to experience everything from working with a nonprofit based on engaging the homeless to running a Fortune 500 pharmaceutical company to writing a column for The Temple News.

Each of my experiences took me on a different journey and, as the cliché goes, that is what it’s all about. Whether my own result was good or bad, I’d recommend them to anyone.

Still, I can’t help but feel that I could have done a little more. I don’t say this because I’m an annoying over-achiever, but because somewhere along the way I learned a valuable lesson.

After all is accounted for, what I really learned is that the only thing holding most of us back — myself certainly included — is our pre-conceived notions about what can be.

I now understand that the only thing we really need to do is start moving toward where we want to be and learn along the way.

Let that sink in beyond face value. Seriously, consider it.

Internships are a great opportunity to gain direction and know-how to reach your goals. They are a way to help us lay siege to our own mental barriers.

Most of us see barriers everywhere. We deceive ourselves by saying, “It’s too early to get an internship;” “Not everybody can invent Facebook;” “It’s too late for me to do that,” or that something is simply out of reach for any given reason.

For too many of us, our minds can be likened to a graveyard for heartfelt aspirations or ideas that never had a shot because we allowed them to be killed by fear.

There are plenty of actual forces that will challenge you. Don’t allow your ideas to die in your head before they are even given the chance to live in reality.

If you do allow your imaginary barriers to stop your growth then you are initially naïve and, eventually, foolish. Sorry, but it’s true.

The people who I’ve been most impressed by are those that seem to be, for better or for worse, unable to see such barriers at all. They just go forward until something actually stops them, but even then they aren’t discouraged.

You know the type. They are all over Main Campus.

It simply amazes me when a student tells me of the many cold-calls and emails she had made with pitches to different companies and obscure websites looking for freelance writing work. Or when I sit down to interview a girl who has spent the last three summers in Uganda and actually understands first-hand how those people view the Kony 2012 campaign.

It amazes me when I speak with a Temple student approaching pop stars after a concert to ask them to help promote a clothing brand that he founded. Still another group of Temple alumni that I have come in contact with has organized, and united, the tech community in Philadelphia through a news website that they co-founded.

These examples amaze me because they are things that I didn’t imagine to be within reach for a Temple student much like myself, but they made them happen.

Realizing that all they needed to do was start moving toward what they wanted to do and figure it out as they went along, these types of Temple students, through their own gumption, taught me this valuable life lesson that was complemented by my own experiences.

For those willing to apply themselves, the experience an internship gives can ensure that the aforementioned types of endeavors are grounded in reality and give the person the confidence to see them through.

Use this logic when considering the real value you can get out of an internship experience — it’s about more than just a job or money.

I consider myself a student of life and value experience. So, for me, internships were portals into different fields and allowed me to learn about different aspects of not only myself but of society and the human experience.

Without these opportunities, I imagine that I’d never appreciate many of the subtleties of life that I now feel that I do.

“I’m a college student” is a phrase that functions as a key and safety net. It can open so many doors for you and if you slip up, after all, you’re still just a college student. That is one key that should be used with great frequency.

However, when these college years inevitably come to an end and when time, the relentless bully, forces you to close this chapter of your life, you will have reclaimed the knowledge that you’d known long ago, but may have forgotten.

You are capable of great things — all you have to do is do them.

Press onward without allowing reservations to hinder you and realize that it’s just a matter of learning how.

Keep forging ahead, learning and embracing each new venture in life with the mindset of an intern.

And with that bit of final wisdom, this eternal intern bids you, and Temple, farewell.

Thank you for the opportunity.

John A. Dailey can be reached at john.dailey@temple.edu.

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