During grad school, I had a professor I both respected and admired, and – if I am being completely honest – was slightly terrified of… in a healthy way, of course.
Dr. White had a ritual in her strategic public relations class. Every week we were assigned 5-6 articles to read. Within each of these articles, we had to find at least one (or three if you were paranoid that one wouldn’t be enough) “aha” moments to discuss with the class. For the purpose of these assignments, an “aha” moment was defined as a “moment of realization, inspiration or insight.” And obviously, “it” was different for everyone.
These “aha” moments could not be something obvious. No, these moments had to be something you found deep in the paragraphs of page five, and you connected that with last week’s topic or the topic two weeks from now. The terror of not knowing if your “aha” was good enough for Dr. White made for many sleepless nights.
You may be thinking “this is a tad dramatic,” and you’re probably right. But when I actually did connect and find something in the reading that made me say “aha!” I felt the rush of confidence and the eagerness to continue to dig and see what else I could find, which was, I suppose, the point of Dr. White’s ritual.
I can honestly say that as I have started down my new career path with Sweeney, I’ve already had many “aha” moments. From learning new skills to finding a new, relevant media contact, or finding a different perspective; these moments brought me back to my time in grad school.
The life lesson I learned from Dr. White has stayed with me through first jobs, new jobs and life in general. Too often we become comfortable with what we think we know and don’t challenge ourselves. This is a huge mistake.
So my challenge to you is to find and share your next “aha” moment. Be hungry for knowledge, and don’t throw in the towel too quickly. You never know what is around the corner.
Oh… and thanks Dr. White!