Letter from the editor: Graduating, ‘adulting’ and working hard

By Bethany Kyle—


I’m in the middle of the pre-graduation meltdown. The thought of finding a job and leaving Tarleton is overwhelming and has made me nostalgic as well.

Do you remember the person you were when you walked through the gates your freshman year? I do, and I’m certainly not the same.

This place isn’t the same as the day we started, either. Over the past few years, we’ve watched the landscape change. Tarleton has built residence halls and classrooms. They built a newsroom and parking lots and a statue of a man with a duck. Even the gates we first walked through are different.editorcolumnphoto_CMYK

But most importantly, Tarleton built us. Our classes, professors, organizations and experiences all played a role. Tarleton, and the people I’ve known here, have built me into a more creative and critical thinker, a compassionate member of society, a world traveler, a journalist and a leader.

I’d like to think that the version of me that will walk across the stage is better than the one I pictured a few years ago.

When I went to Duck Camp, they had us all write letters to our future selves. This semester, my letter was returned to me. I ended the note with, “Don’t ever change.” When I read it, I couldn’t help but laugh at how ridiculous that idea was. I didn’t realize back then that every change I made was building a better me.

I can reminisce all I like, but that doesn’t change the fact that I still have a future to figure out. As I prepare to take on a career and a fresh start, there’s one lesson from a class that sticks in my mind, and I’d like to share the ‘Cliff Notes version.’

The class was professional ethics with Dr. Hallgarth, and the lesson was over an essay by C.S. Lewis called “The Inner Ring.” In it, he talks about this idea of the existence of inner rings in our lives. You might call it a clique, team, an exclusive group or just them, but whatever you call it, it’s about the natural inclination we all feel to be part of the “in” group.

No matter where you go from here, you will see the rings. You probably see them already if you look around: in your friends, your family, your clubs, your churches and, most importantly right now, your jobs. The rings are alluring and often tied to money, power, liberty to break rules and a feeling of superiority. They’re the groups that can do no wrong.

But here is where Lewis’ advice comes in; As you start your new job and quickly learn the hierarchy and find these rings, resist the urge to chase them. Don’t let being part of an exclusive group be your sole motivation in your career.

Lewis said, “The quest of the inner ring will break your hearts unless you break it.” When you do break that need, that is when you find your pure motivations. Make the work your end, ignoring the rings around you. Be a part of the only truly great ring that exists—the one that is home to those who do their job well and are respected because of it.

So from here, ignore the words of my 18-year-old self in a Duck Camp letter. I hope you keep changing and keep growing and keep learning.

And if you’re graduating in December, start applying for jobs! The clock is ticking.

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