The Irreverent Professor

Unvarnished realities about life, teaching, learning, and change in this wild, wild world

What Your Professors Haven’t Told You (But Should)

Part of the joy of irreverence–and being a professor–is being able to tell college students what they need to know.  And part of what they need to know is that professors don’t know it all. (collective gasp!)  In some case, what was true when they were the age of a college student is totally out date and no longer true.  For example, I was told as a college graduate (many moons ago) that I had to buy a navy blue or black suit with a white blouse or (if I wanted to be edgy) a gray striped suit…just like the IBM folks wore.  I bought pink corduroy (hey, it was fashionable in the 80’s…ok, probably not, but this isn’t a fashion blog).

Next week, I’m doing a presentation for college students at the Meeting Professionals International World Education Congress (MPI-WEC) called “What Your Professors Haven’t Told You, but Should.”  I’ve done a similar presentation for a couple of other student groups–IMEX America in Fall 2012 and most recently, at the Korea MICE Expo IMEX-MPI-MCI Future Leaders Forum in Seoul in June 2013.  Interestingly, there seemed to be absolutely no cultural barrier to the message in Korea and the students and recent college graduates in Seoul “got it” just as the (mostly) American students in Las Vegas did.  Interesting.

Some recent college graduates in Seoul who attended my presentation at the IMEX-MCI-MPI Future Leaders Forum

Some recent college graduates in Seoul who attended my presentation at the IMEX-MCI-MPI Future Leaders Forum

I love-love-love speaking to students–college students, high school students, recent college grads, graduate students.  Anyone open to a message about transition and change.  Part of the challenge with students is that (believe it or not), they are accustomed to pretty much believing what they hear.  Professor = authority figure.  Ergo, what the professor says must be true.  Not.  It’s not that I believe professors set out to tell students untruths.  I think professors really believe what they say.  I, on the other, think most of it is hooey.

Some of the bits of wisdom (read: opinion) I am going to share at this upcoming presentation include gems such as:

  • Grades don’t matter
  • You can’t learn it in a classroom
  • You already have a brand
  • Tattoos, nose rings, and pink hair are ok–even in an interview
  • Ban the black suit

There’s a lot more to each of these.  Hope you’ll be at MPI-WEC to hear about it.  And as a bonus, my buddy Professor Carol Krugman will be joining me to give her opinions (some of which differ from mine–shock).  If not, I’ll post the slides on SlideShare later.

Carpe irreverence.

P.S. You may be one of the lucky students who has an awesome professor who really does tell it like it is.  Or you may be the professor who does.  If so, kudos to you!  I know some of you are out there and I’m proud to call some of you “friends.”  🙂

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6 thoughts on “What Your Professors Haven’t Told You (But Should)

  1. Another session I’ll miss by not being able to attend WEC! Even though I’m not a student I would surely sit in on this one to hear your (and Carol’s) pearly words. I had my share of professors who were full of hooey and I certainly know that my kids have teachers currently who are shelling it out, but I also know there are good ones who tell it to you straight. I hope with the teaching I do (and someday get to do in high schools and colleges) that I’ll also be remembered as one of the straight shooters.
    Thanks for sharing your irreverence!

    Based on the heat in the NE and the weather you are heading to, I’ll say Carpe Heatwave!

    Like

    • Thanks, Carolyn. The more of us who are out there telling it like it is, the better prepared students (and career changers, back-to-workers, whoever) will be for the changes they face. And as a bonus, they’ll make better employees, employers, or entrepreneurs. Sorry you won’t make it to MPI-WEC. Fortunately, once I’m inside the hotel, I’ll never leave. Heat? What heat? 🙂

      Thanks for your comment.

      Like

  2. Whatever happened to those “Question authority” number stickers? (Or number stickers in general, for that matter?). I hope to make it to this session–sounds right up my alley…

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  3. Darn autocorrect–bumper stickers! Sheesh.

    Like

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