Originally Blogged on May 15, 2014
I smile to myself when I reflect on the many unique, and sometimes painful, journeys that students have related to me over the years. It is extremely gratifying when students persisted and these divergent paths eventually led to transforming college experiences and college degrees.
While I cheer those who succeeded, I have to ask—why have not more students chosen similar journeys to develop into critical thinkers, to gain confidence in their learning abilities, and to leave an institution of higher education as more confident and competent individuals ready to take their places as responsible citizens in the Commonwealth and America? Graduating students will not only contribute to the intellectual capital of the region, but they will eventually earn money to help their families, serve as role models, and maybe start a business and employ others.
How can we encourage more young people to take the road less traveled into emerging fields of study in higher education that will respond to the needs of the region and America?
With this Blog, I ask that you, too, reflect upon this question with me—how can we muster whatever it takes, the political will, and the infrastructures needed to increase and amplify the intellectual capital in the region? What can each individual do to maximize the outcomes in human capital that could possibly alter the America we live in and amplify the American dream for many?
Dr. Randal Pinkett, an extremely well-educated scholar who is viewed by some as one of the elite intellectuals of this century, and I discussed this briefly before Cheyney University’s 2014 Commencement. We were both concerned that there appears to be a broadening economic and social gap that could be tearing at the social fabric (education, wealth, health, quality of life, and overall well-being) of our society. We believe that we (Americans) will each have to redouble our efforts to help young people see possibilities, believe in themselves, and gain the courage to venture forth.
As Dr. Randal Pinkett so aptly employed as a metaphor in his inspirational 2014 Commencement speech, it seems appropriate to end this Blog with the quote from Robert Frost’s poem, The Road Not Taken:
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.