Alumknights: Possibilities in hard work

As I sit here in my office at Villa Maria Elementary School (VME) on the old Villa Maria College campus, it’s hard not to reflect on the road — both literal and figurative — between here and Gannon.

I graduated from Gannon with an undergraduate degree in 2004, and earned my master’s in 2010 — both of which proudly hang on the wall of my new office.

Ten years later I find myself a steward of a 122-year-old institution with strong ties to the community and a feeling much like the one you find today at Gannon.

Both at VME and at Gannon, you get a strong sense of the importance of the past and not just a hope but also a plan for the future.

There is such a vibrant spirit on campus these days and I believe it comes from having such a clear vision for where Gannon is going as both a community and an institution.

When I first stepped on Gannon’s campus 14 years ago, I couldn’t imagine life after school.

I was really good at school. A joiner. I was involved, excelled in my classes and genuinely enjoyed campus life. But what happens when you have to go out on your own?

Over the years, my education from Gannon has unfolded into adulthood. Slowly, things I learned or didn’t even realize I learned grew and bore fruit. I knew how to deal with unemployment by being involved in my community.

I know how to network from my time spent in Greek life (go, Alpha Gams!) I am a leader in professional and social organizations, much like my time as an RA in Wehrle Hall. I am able to take on new tasks at work because my classes taught me how to study. The person I am becoming is a direct result of the tools I received at Gannon.

So now the question becomes, what is your vision for you? The tagline for the Gannon Alumni Association is, “Endless possibilities.” While it may not always seem that way, Gannon has equipped you with the ability to be whatever you want to be. The best thing that you can do is take a page from the Gannon playbook and work on your own strategic plan.

What is your dream? Want to get your Ph.D.? Hope to own your own business? Want to retire at 40?

It might seem like flying to the moon would be easier, but when you determine the steps that need to be in place, you now have a process for achieving that goal that is real and manageable.

It works for large institutions like Gannon and VME, and it works for us on an individual level as well.

Did I make it sound easy? I think Gannon has taught us all that things of value are rarely easily achieved, but hard work and a thoughtful approach will get you there every time. I’m looking forward to watching the endless possibilities that Gannon students and alumni will go for next. Go Knights!

 

JESSICA NELSON

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