Created by: Katie Smith, 2012-2013 Career Advising Fellow
I have chosen to work in higher education for many reasons, one of which is the opportunity to hear brilliant, acclaimed, and influential speakers. Another is the opportunity to participate in silly events and fundraisers such as the Elon Color Run. Both happened this past week!
Last Thursday evening, Maya Angelou, a world-renowned poet and author spoke at Elon’s fall convocation ceremony, an event free to Elon students, faculty, and staff. For almost two hours we sat packed in the alumni gym, spellbound, listening to a woman whose name we knew and whose words we’ve read. Angelou opened with a song and spoke about her life with a sharp wit and poetic cadence, telling jokes, making occasional jabs, and imparting great wisdom to first-year students and anyone else who was along for the ride.
Angelou encouraged students to take advantage of their time at Elon multiple times throughout her speech. She challenged students to make use of the library’s resources and to push their teachers, maximizing their education and learning a history different from their own. “Be a rainbow in the clouds for others,” she told us. “When you learn, teach, and when you get, give.”
While walking home, still slightly stunned from listening to such a brilliant woman, I had the surprise of running into a student game of flashlight tag. It’s the simple pleasures that can balance the intellectual challenge of living and working on a college campus, and for this I am grateful.
Living out our simple pleasures as well as our career services duties and academic campus events, on Saturday Mikki and I participated in the Elon Color Run, a 2k fundraiser event planned and coordinated by Campus Recreation and Elonthon. Participants dressed in white and at several points throughout the race, we were covered in colored powder, creating a big rainbow mess by the finish line. This first-time event at Elon had over 450 enthusiastic participants and raised over $4,000 for the Duke Children’s Hospital.
Together, these two events paint a picture of some of the greatest advantages of working at an institution. Amazing minds and wisdom complemented with fun and philanthropy, all for a great cause.