Letter to the Graduating Class of May 2020
Author: Joe Campbell, EPN director, and Nicole Jackson, EPN program coordinator
Congratulations, Class of 2020, you did it! The next chapter of your life awaits! Transformation does not end with a period. It is not a hard stop, but more like a run-on sentence in the story we call life. Although not yet fully formed in your being, you are becoming. There are more uncertainties and questions ahead, but you must build without a blueprint and trust that it will all come together in the end.
We too are graduates of SENR and have benefited from the wide network of environmental and natural resource professionals that connect to SENR, including through our Environmental Professionals Network (EPN), which we now coordinate and direct. Many of you have participated in an EPN event before and we are excited to share a few ways to develop your networks going forward.
Having support networks will make the steps ahead easier. Make it a priority to reach out to family, friends, mentors, and neighbors if you need a helping hand. They are the ones who will be there if you need advice, a shoulder to cry on, or encouragement. During these times, it is especially important to take care of yourself and not only allow yourself to be kind but to receive help and kindness from others.
A few ways to develop your Internal Support Network
- Connect regularly with your advisors, instructors, and peers. Be consistent and set aside a small amount of time each day or weekly.
- Make lists of the types of support you need and have conversations that share your plans and how you would like the individual to support you.
- Thank people for their time, advice, and encouragement. Keep the relationship going by providing updates and feedback, especially in the areas where advice was given. This can produce big results!
A few ways to develop your External Support Network
- Talk about your career ambitions with colleagues, mentors, friends, and family.
- Think about the types of support you need from external contacts and then list people who might fit in each category. Developing an outline of the points you want to cover or questions you think would be helpful to ask before contacting people from your list will make this connection easier. If you run across an individual who is unable to offer support, you can ask, “Can you suggest someone else I might ask for assistance?”
- Be sure to acknowledge any help you receive and keep your networks updated with your challenges and accomplishments along the way.
It is okay to ask for what you need, and the Environmental Professionals Network will be here to help, connecting our community!
We are more excited than ever to connect you with professionals in all sectors of society in Ohio and beyond, and to discover new ways to collaborate. As we all try to productively navigate our complex times, please let us know if you have ideas for topics, forums, and presenters, or outside–the–box ideas.
Again, congratulations on your degree!