Advising the Class of 2013

chips postrMy advice to the Class of 2013 would go something like this:

Be nimble.

Life throws you curves and the measure of a person is how she maneuvers the curves.

On Sunday I packed my graduation regalia into my bicycle pannier and pedaled to the city’s largest indoor venue.

I imagined myself like the beloved Mr. Chips, the teacher in James Hilton’s 1934 book and the Peter O’Toole movie, wearing his educator’s regalia and biking to class.

Suddenly my bike chain slipped. Gears froze.

The curve was thrown.

I telephoned my honey who came to my rescue, shoved the bike in the car, and tossed me a hand-wipe.

While we drove to graduation ceremonies, I removed the grease from my fingers, dashed through the crowd and took my place at the head of the line for our troupe.

Once the throng of thousands settled into their seats, we listened as the commencement speaker delivered advice.

Mathematician Richard Tapia, a National Medal of Science winner, likened life to game of cards and told graduates their success is a function of how they play their hand.

Because you never know what cards you will get, he said.


Be nimble.


About Cynthia Coleman Emery

Professor and researcher at Portland State University who studies science communication, particularly issues that impact American Indians. Dr. Coleman is an enrolled citizen of the Osage Nation.
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