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May 21st, 2013
Views on the News: Graduation
Student newspaper, Brandeis Independent, quoted Jeffrey A. Greenbaum on the job market for college graduates.
College graduates enter the job market with a clear advantage over non- graduates. According to a recent New York Times article, unemployment for college graduates is 3.9 percent, almost half of the national average of 7.5 percent. Employment, however, is only part of what makes a Brandeis graduate “successful.” What do you think makes a Brandeis graduate successful? What advice would you give to the Class of 2013?
University President Frederick Lawrence
There are several Brandesian values that, I believe, distinguish our graduates and make them successful. These include the ability to recognize opportunity, to lead in formal and informal ways—from the organizational level to the personal level, and a willingness to take risks—especially for causes we believe in. This is particularly true in terms of our commitment to social justice. A steady moral compass is a prerequisite for true success. In my commencement address, I quoted Ralph Waldo Emerson. In his journal, he wrote: “Do not be too timid about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make, the better. What if you do fail, and get fairly rolled in the dirt once or twice. Up again, you shall never again be so afraid of a tumble.” Brandesians are not afraid of a tumble. Remember what you liked best about yourself at Brandeis and stay in touch with that person.
Frederick Lawrence is the president of Brandeis University.
Jeffrey Greenbaum ’90
My mother told me that “once you graduate from medical school, you can do whatever you want to do.” Thankfully, she was joking. To achieve what you have achieved so far, you probably have done a lot of things in your life for your parents or because you thought it was what you were supposed to do. Notwithstanding all of that, chances are, you have made some very good decisions. (You went to Brandeis, after all.) If you want to succeed in your career, however, it is time to start figuring out what it is that you want to do, for you. Don’t pick a job just because it is easy to get, it pays a good salary or because your parents were hoping to have another lawyer in the family. In the long run, that’s not going to make you happy or lead to success. So, what is the recipe for success in your career? Do what you love. It may take a while for you to figure that out. And, there may be many ups and downs along the way. But, if you can choose a career that truly interests and excites you, where you are truly doing what you love to do, the success will follow.
Jeffrey Greenbaum graduated summa cum laude from Brandeis in 1990 and from Columbia University School of Law in 1993. He is currently the managing partner for Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz, PC.
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