Dr. Rosalyn Smith-Howard of Brandon told about 200 Mississippi University for Women graduates to get to know themselves.
Executive director of the Mississippi Nurses Foundation, Smith-Howard delivered her message Saturday morning in Rent Auditorium, Whitfield Hall.
Smith-Howard said so many times individuals are being told what to do.
“In kindergarten we had to learn how to sing the alphabet song. No one could just learn their alphabet, we had to sing it,” she said.
“Before you started college, you were told by your parents or influenced by someone regarding your career path to get to know certain people because they were on the road to success,” she added.
Smith-Howard said it’s rare that individuals are advised “to get to know themselves.”
She said, “Learning is the best gift you can give yourself. Although we live within our skin, sometimes we ask ourselves the question `Who am I?'”
Smith-Howard urged the graduates to spend time with themselves and learn their likes and dislikes and what makes them happy or unhappy.
She compared the process to dating, particularly in the early stages when individuals are getting to know one another.
“If you spend that time on you, I am confident you will not break up with yourself. As a matter of fact, you will be able to soar to higher heights, embrace new adventures and explore this world and all it has to offer,” she said.
Smith-Howard stressed to audience members to remember to use their time wisely because life is short.
She reminded the graduates that there would be challenges ahead of them, noting that roadblocks eventually open up.
“If there is a particular place you want to be, don’t be too proud to accept a position that’s beneath your pay grade if it gets you in the door. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t get the promotion you desperately wanted-something bigger is always in store.
“It is during these times you show everyone how a W graduate can stand in the face of adversity, show strength in the face of despair and fight to the end to reach your goal,” Smith-Howard said.
In closing, she noted that every person is put on earth for a reason and sometimes it may take a little while for that reason to reveal itself.
“Do you want to make a footprint or a toe print?” she asked. “Whichever you choose, choose wisely because the choices you make today follow you for a lifetime.”
Lastly she said, “If by chance you have difficulty making choices, I ask you to choose the following things: choose to live and love, choose to take that risk that could place you closer to your dream, choose to give your best in all that you do, and last but not least, choose to trust your faith as your guide. I can assure you that you will be able to soar beyond your wildest dreams.”
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