“You need an incredible support group, and people who understand. You have to build it when you don’t need it.” - Sree Sreenivasan
The following article came across my page on Twitter or Facebook: "The Met ousted a top executive, so he used Facebook to show the world how to do unemployment right." I highly recommend reading it!
Why am I sharing an article about a man who was fired from his job?
1. Sree is so on top of his game, that being fired only creates opportunities. This does not dismiss his vulnerability or that feeling you might get when deciding whether to jump into a pool of water that you know is too cold!
2. Sree was not fired because of any inability to perform, but rather because of budget cuts. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, in all of its grandeur, is a non-profit organization that often has to make difficult financial decisions. I love the Met.
3. In 2009, Sree was named one of AdAge's 25 media people to follow on Twitter; in 2010 he was named one of Poynter's 35 most influential people in social media; and in 2014, he was named one of the most influential Chief Digital Officers by CDO Club. (Taken from the introduction from his TED talk below.
4. Don't you want a life where getting fired does not scare you, but rather motivates and emboldens you to rise? I believe that if you read this article about Sree's departure, you will glean tools that will help you to make critical choices about your future.
If you live in NYC and take Sree up on his offer to walk and have a "meaningful conversation" and a cup of coffee or tea, please share your experiences in the comments!
8/1/2016 - Sree Follow Up:
Look who was selected to be the Chief Digital Officer of NYC: www.politico.com/states/new-york/city-hall/story/2016/08/mayor-appoints-sree-sreenivasan-as-chief-digital-officer-104381
How do you spend your time outside of class? Are you working? Full-time? Part-time? Are you an athlete? Are you involved in clubs? Are you volunteering or interning? Do you have family responsibilities take up a good amount of you time? Do you commute?
With all of your responsibilities, when do you study?
Please share what works for you in the comments below.
My husband is an Eagles fan. We are a "Fly Eagles Fly" home and are currently in a state of mourning and confusion. That does not stop us from appreciating Cam Newton's athleticism and his history. When this video was shared with me, I thought about you (student who may be reading this) and every person that may be discouraging you from your goals when you know that you are doing your best - or like Cam, that you are at the top of your game. When I saw Mr. Newton smile while getting tackled during the last game against the Cardinals , I wanted to do a happy dance because I instantly saw this as a metaphor for life. Disappointments will come. You will make mistakes. Back-biters are always hungry. Nay sayers are always talking. What are you going to do about it? Be the best you. Come out of your room. Face the scary, the unknown and the difficulties of life. Press on.
Struggling in a class, but you never needed help before? Get over yourself and get the help that you need. You will be better for it. Nervous about going to your professors' office hours or speaking to a professional in a career that you want to pursue? Acknowledge your sweaty, nervousness and do it anyway. Do not be your own detractor, there are enough applicants for that position. Press on. Just press on.
Today (Sunday, January 17) , I met a man who might be one of our future students at UAlbany. Retired from a local law enforcement agency in his late 40s, this man is heavily involved in perfecting his skills in various forms of martial arts. Perfecting includes regular trips to Japan to study with his Sensei. He also teaches these skills to students who apply to his program by invitation only. As he spoke about his craft, I started to think that I was just introduced to a local version of Michael Weston (reference to the show: Burn Notice).
Our conversation did not begin with martial arts, but with fine arts. This man is an avid painter and has begun to show his works at different galleries as well as teach courses in the community. He spoke of painting with the same passion and fervor as he did martial arts and justice. He hopes to earn his degree in Fine Arts at UAlbany one day and has already spoken to admissions counselors. There was such a glimmer in his eyes when he spoke of his future in the fine arts, that all of us in the conversation were smiling.
Meeting this retired law enforcement officer, Buddhist, painter, martial arts student and instructor, father, husband, and handy man reminded me that one does not have to silence parts of themselves in order to succeed. Success might simply be defined by being the best you in every moment, rising from the ashes when you fail, and ever striving to learn more and to grow. I believe that this man will ever be perfecting his skills in the martial and fine arts and I think that he will live a longer and happier life because of it.
I am, generally, not a stickler for e-mail etiquette. Perhaps because I understand the art of code-switching and hope that when I receive an e-mail with no introduction, no name attached, a vague subject and an encrypted body; the sender is under some duress and simply is unable to adhere to professional e-mail norms OR they are so familiar with me, that an e-mail is akin to a text message. Sometimes there just is not enough time to include vowels. Still, the information below should help you to better communicate with your professors, employers, advisors, anyone else on campus, and with strangers.
Disclaimer - No one is exempt from the "Did you write this e-mail while you were sleep walking?" moment.
Taken from INSIDE HigherEd
Re: Your Recent Email to Your Professor
April 16, 2015
By Paul T. Corrigan and Cameron Hunt McNabb
Dear College Student,
If your professor has sent you a link to this page, two things are likely true. First, you probably sent an email that does not represent you in a way you would like to be represented. Second, while others might have scolded you, mocked you or despaired over the future of the planet because of your email, you sent it to someone who wants to help you represent yourself better.
In part, because only a click or swipe or two separate emails from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and texting, the lines between professional emails and more informal modes of writing have become blurred, and many students find the conventions of professional emails murky. We think we can help sort things out.
In the age of social media, many students approach emailing similar to texting and other forms of digital communication, where the crucial conventions are brevity and informality. But most college teachers consider emails closer to letters than to text messages. This style of writing calls for more formality, more thoroughness and more faithful adherence (sometimes bordering on religious adherence) to the conventions of Edited Standard Written English -- that is, spelling, punctuation, capitalization and syntax.
These different ways of writing are just that -- different ways of writing. The letter approach to emails is not always and forever better (or worse) than the texting approach. Knowing how and when to use one or the other -- based on why you are writing and whom you are writing to -- makes all the difference. So, if you use emojis, acronyms, abbreviations, etc., when texting your friends, you are actually demonstrating legitimate, useful writing skills. But you aren’t if you do the same thing when emailing professors who view emails as letters.
Effective writing requires shaping your words according to your audience, purpose and genre (or type of writing, e.g., an academic email). Together these are sometimes called the rhetorical situation. Some of the key conventions for the rhetorical situation of emailing a professor are as follows:
1. Use a clear subject line. The subject “Rhetorical Analysis Essay” would work a bit better than “heeeeelp!” (and much better than the unforgivable blank subject line).
2. Use a salutation and signature. Instead of jumping right into your message or saying “hey,” begin with a greeting like “Hello” or “Good afternoon,” and then address your professor by appropriate title and last name, such as “Prof. Xavier” or “Dr. Octavius.” (Though this can be tricky, depending on your teacher’s gender, rank and level of education, “Professor” is usually a safe bet for addressing a college teacher.) Similarly, instead of concluding with “Sent from my iPhone” or nothing at all, include a signature, such as “Best” or “Sincerely,” followed by your name.
3. Use standard punctuation, capitalization, spelling and grammar. Instead of writing “idk what 2 rite about in my paper can you help??” try something more like, “I am writing to ask about the topics you suggested in class yesterday.”
4. Do your part in solving what you need to solve. If you email to ask something you could look up yourself, you risk presenting yourself as less resourceful than you ought to be. But if you mention that you’ve already checked the syllabus, asked classmates and looked through old emails from the professor, then you present yourself as responsible and taking initiative. So, instead of asking, “What’s our homework for tonight?” you might write, “I looked through the syllabus and course website for this weekend’s assigned homework, but unfortunately I am unable to locate it.”
5. Be aware of concerns about entitlement. Rightly or wrongly, many professors feel that students “these days” have too strong a sense of entitlement. If you appear to demand help, shrug off absences or assume late work will be accepted without penalty because you have a good reason, your professors may see you as irresponsible or presumptuous. Even if it is true that “the printer wasn’t printing” and you “really need an A in this class,” your email will be more effective if you to take responsibility: “I didn’t plan ahead well enough, and I accept whatever policies you have for late work.”
6. Add a touch of humanity. Some of the most effective emails are not strictly business -- not strictly about the syllabus, the grade, the absence or the assignment. While avoiding obvious flattery, you might comment on something said in class, share information regarding an event the professor might want to know about or pass on an article from your news feed that is relevant to the course. These sorts of flourishes, woven in gracefully, put a relational touch to the email, recognizing that professors are not just point keepers but people.
We hope that these rules (or these and these) help you understand what most professors want or expect from academic emails. Which brings us back to the larger point: writing effectively does not simply mean following all the rules. Writing effectively means writing as an act of human communication -- shaping your words in light of whom you are writing to and why.
Of course, you won’t actually secure the future of the planet by writing emails with a subject line and some punctuation. But you will help your professors worry about it just a little less.
With wishes for all the best emails in the future,
PTC and CHM
Bio: Paul T. Corrigan and Cameron Hunt McNabb are assistant professors of English at Southeastern University.
Welcome! My name is Rachel Moody. I post weekly announcements and messages to motivate and inspire my UAlbany advisees, and any one else who visits. Comments are welcome! While you are here, have a virtual cup of tea!