Lessons to students not in my syllabus


Joe Tradii, Guest Writer

I wanted to take this opportunity to thank all of the CWU students who it’s been my privilege to teach and learn with over the last academic year, as well as the student body at large. My contract to teach at CWU will soon expire meaning my time with you is drawing to a close.

Hopefully I’ve shown you how to write a good press release, create a solid public relations strategy, how to think about effective advertising, ways to use social media and more. If I’ve also shown you how to think, not what to think, even better. Being able to think critically and keep digging for insights will always serve you

With that in mind, I have a final lecture I like to give all of my classes. This lecture has more to do with how to look at things not found in my syllabi.

So, to all my past, current and CWU students in general, I’d like to leave you with a few ideas to consider.  Be kind to others. Everyone you meet is fighting some battle of which you are unaware. Some days go well and others not so much. If someone is downcast or grumpy, it could mean things aren’t breaking in their favor that day. A small show of concern, a kind word, even to strangers, has more impact than you could possibly know.

Be kind to yourself. You’ve chosen to take on extra stress and responsibilities by being a student. That’s extraordinary. Don’t beat yourself up over mistakes and misjudgments. Missing the mark is how you learn. Luckily, you’re in a learning environment – this is where you’re supposed to make your mistakes. I doubt you’d get down on a friend for falling short of their own expectations. Show yourself the same patience and care that you would show to
a friend in a similar circumstance.

Remember that feedback is a gift. Feedback, especially constructive feedback, is a gift.. Sure, nobody wants to hear their work isn’t perfect, but let’s be real–there’s usually room for improvement. It’s not easy receiving feedback sometimes. It’s also not always easy to give. Telling someone they have room to improve can sometimes be uncomfortable for both parties. The easiest thing in the world would be to gloss over providing honest, beneficial feedback and pretend everything’s fine.

If someone takes on the trouble to have a constructive conversation with you, understand it’s because they care. You’re getting a valuable gift–keep that in mind. Avoid toxicity. It’s way too easy to get stuck in toxic situations. You make excuses for others. You think it’s a temporary thing. You hope things will get better. Trust your inner voice. Absent yourself from toxic situations, whether they be personal or professional. They will only tear you down. Same
goes for people. There’s no such thing as a “frenemy.” There are just people who want to infect you with their own poison. Just walk away. Immediately.

You don’t need to offer any explanations or justifications for your choice to anyone but yourself.

Finally, remember this. Good. Fast. Cheap. Choose two, but only two. You can get something good and fast, but it won’t be cheap. You can get something fast and cheap, but it won’t be very good. Or you can get something good and cheap, but it won’t be fast. For example, last year I had the deck on my home rebuilt. I had to wait for business to slow down for the contractor I wanted to work with (think Winter). I was able to have a really nice deck built for cheap, but it took a while. That’s generally how life works – it’s all about trade-offs.

I’ve yet to meet an underwhelming CWU student. Continue to be the extraordinary people you are.


Joe Tradii