Last Lecture with Robert Reich

The Senior Council at UC Berkeley chooses a well-received professor every year to give the graduating class a send-off lecture. This year, the professor for my senior class is Robert Reich, a renowned professor at UC Berkeley and Secretary of Labor under President Bill Clinton.

Humility

Professor Reich told us a story from when he interned at Governor John F. Kennedy’s office. One day, he saw Governor Kennedy walk out of his office with a bunch of important political figures. To his surprise, Governor Kennedy said to him “How are you doing, Bob?” as he walked past him. Prof. Reich could not believe that Governor Kennedy remembered his name and greeted him! This small gesture from Kennedy became such a fond memory of him that he proceeded to work for him for the next 6 months.

He advised us to always pay attention to the people around you, no matter what position they are in. Be humble, attentive, and kind.

Failures

“The test is resilience, not success of failure.”

Prof. Reich called us all “good hoop jumpers.” We had to jump through all the hoops that our teachers, parents, and the society have set in front of us in order to sit here as a graduating senior from UC Berkeley, one of the best universities in the world.

But sooner or later, we will either fail to jump through a hoop or jump through it and fall on our nose. It’s foolish to think that we won’t fail. But the key is to remember that successes and failures do not necessarily define you; resilience does. Continue reading

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