I want to be like Nick

I love when students just blow me away, and fortunately, this happens to me regularly. When I think of my top five students that have (or will soon) turn the world on its ear, I see that they all have committed their time and energy to their passion. This is definitely the case with Nick.

Nick Lucido started with The State News the minute he dropped his suitcase in his residence hall room. He helped secure funding for the PRSSA chapter on our campus. He runs www.pr-start.com, has over 2000 followers on Twitter, and has guest blogged at Brazen Careerist. He’s national president of PRSSA, and he is finishing up a double major (Advertising and Public Policy) with a specialization (Public Relations). Yep, he’s one of those students.

Now, students change our lives for many different reasons. Some tug at our heartstrings because they have tackled amazing obstacles with grace. Some get in trouble so many times they have an assigned seat in your office (and know the best candy you have in your dish). Some are just impressive…living their passion right in front of your eyes. That would be Nick, and if he were just shaking up the PR world, it would be one thing. But he has pushed me to become a more connected, more engaged student affairs professional, and I haven’t had the chance to thank him.

The top five things I have learned from Nick:
1. Go with passion. You cannot meet Nick without walking away feeling more enthusiastic about things. Nick’s blog is about getting started in the PR industry, something you would expect from a seasoned professional, imparting wisdom on the young. Nick is sharing it as he’s gaining it. He has much to teach other students and other professionals, and he is not wasting anytime in doing so.
2. Get connected. Honestly, I first got on Twitter because of Nick (well, and two of my brothers). I had no idea what it was for, and although not an early adopter myself, I am a quick study of the innovators. I was impressed by the conversations and quickness of information sharing occurring on Twitter from Nick, and thought I better look into this.
3. Learn from others. Nick unabashedly shares what he is learning from others. He highlights the great activities of PRSSA chapters across the country. His learning from internships is what we dream for students. He retweets and references others’ ideas and creativity.
4. Try it. Nick isn’t waiting around for someone to tell him how to be a PR professional. He’s developing his owns ideas, sharing them for review and collaboration, and inviting all of us in to see how he is evolving as a professional. He is one of the most honest examples of a lifelong learner I have encountered.
5. Make an impression. Nick’s positivity and professionalism have few peers. I would be hard pressed to find a faculty members or administrator in my college who doesn’t know who Nick is. When we need a panelist for any number of events, we ask Nick, and if he’s available, he has always been there. This year, I asked Nick for his take on the next generation of students leaders, and his recommendations were stars as well.

I don’t worry about Nick. I am inspired by him, and I am challenged by him. How do I create an environment that helps the best in students emerge? How do I support students to find their passion and define for themselves their profession? How do I continue to remove barriers for students like Nick to show us all how it should be done?

So, thanks, Nick. I appreciate learning from you, and I look forward to seeing what you do next.

Always connected. Already educated.

It’s one of those days when multiple conversations are occurring across various media, and I am waiting for the big A-ha moment to explode in front of me. Time magazine just posted an article about the oversold notion of college. Additionally, the Pew Research Center hosted a conference today on Millenials, positing:

Millennials are on course to become the most educated generation in American history, a trend driven largely by the demands of a modern knowledge-based economy, but most likely accelerated in recent years by the millions of 20-somethings enrolling in graduate schools, colleges or community colleges in part because they can’t find a job (2010, Pew Research Center, p. 2).

So, here stands this juxtaposition of needing a college career to become part of the well paid echelon and having to return for more schooling because there are no jobs. Meanwhile, I am watching current and former students dialogue on Twitter about networking through social media and in person, as to avoid unemployment. These are also students and graduates that understand that initiative taking and hand-shaking-networking are just as essential.

What I am certain of is that the Millenial generation is much more than a group of twenty-somethings that expect immediate response to all requests, and if they don’t get it, will have their mom call (although that group is well represented in this Generation Next). What I see are innovative and creative people that think so far outside the parameters that we, Gen Xers, have previously held that they are creating their own jobs, developing their own mastery of communication, and defining community with their own labels (or lack thereof).

On a regular basis, I am fascinated, perplexed, and quite damn near blown away by this rising generation. But amidst my awe, I am trying to help redefine how education, specifically higher education, should challenge them. What does learning mean for the already educated?