Jen's MEM Journey

Farewell Nicholas School … But Not Good-bye
by Jennifer Weiss -- May 22nd, 2012

Four days ago, I sat with over 150 of my fellow classmates as we participated in the grand conclusion of our two years here at the Nicholas School.  Graduation was here at last and we celebrated our successes as we heard our names called and we marched across the stage. With friends and relatives in the audience, we smiled proudly and some of us (okay, just me), raised our arms in triumph.  We did it! We are now officially Masters of the Environment.  So … now what?

Some of us are lucky enough to have jobs lined up already.  Some of us have summer plans, internships and fellowships to continue our research.  Some of us, like me, are still figuring it all out.  And that is okay.  If there is one thing that I’ve learned during my two years at the Nicholas School is that you will find your greatest success when you have a passion for something.  When you find something you love, something that does not feel like work, something that makes you jump out of bed in the morning, then you will know that you have chosen the right path.

Our commencement speaker, Tim Mohin from Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), spoke eloquently about our future and the impact we can have.  I have summarized his six ‘Pearls of Wisdom’ here,  but it is worth the time to listen to his entire commencement speech.  I guarantee you will be inspired.

  1. How we do anything means everything.
  2. Relationships matter.
  3. Lead from wherever you stand – people will follow who they trust.
  4. Take risks – fail often and fail well.
  5. Match your passion to your profession – if your job is your cause, it’s not work.
  6. Think about your legacy – what do you want to be known for?

As I look forward to re-entering the job force, I am remembering these pearls of wisdom.  I have decided to take a risk of my own, something that I have not done before, but have found a passion for.  I have decided to start a blog about something that is very important to me.  Living sustainably.  Not only living sustainably, but understanding the decisions that I am making and how they affect the world around me.

I call my blog The Confused Environmentalist – One Mom’s Attempt to Live Sustainably in an Unsustainable Society.  I am lucky enough to have it hosted on the Nicholas School website and I hope you will join me in this new journey.  My first post, A Tale of Two Mowers, describes my family’s attempt to switch to a rotary push mower.  Yes, just like in the 50’s and 60’s.

So farewell Nicholas School.  I have enjoyed my journey, gained new knowledge and met many new friends.  But, I will not say goodbye.  I am now a part of the interwoven network of Nicholas School alums.  Relationships do matter and I am lucky enough to have made quite a few.

Good luck fellow graduates – may your find a profession that matches YOUR passion.

Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University | Box 90328 | Durham, NC 27708
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