At this moment I am typing these remarks at the end of my third tour, which I must admit seems like a large feat to me, but I know there are some mentors who have done 3 times that amount. What makes this one special to me is it is the first time I have gotten to interact with High School students after presenting High School specific material. I’ve met a few High School students at some stops, but I’ve always had to present the college information because College students were the majority of participants at the time. Reflecting back on our recent stop at Xavier University College of Pharmacy I must say life has surely changed for the average High School student.
Even at the early stage of freshman year students yesterday were contemplating financial loans for ten years from now and wondering about the medical school load. Not only that they still had to manage the not so small step of getting into college. On top of that they currently still have their high school classes coupled with the new “mandatory nature” of social media. During our presentations I asked if everyone could raise their hand if they had a Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Snapchat and the response was 100%. Having these tools now seem like God sends as when I was in High School any information shared amongst friends was over the phone or on paper. You weren’t able to keep up with your friend if they moved 1000 miles away and you certainly weren’t able to access school information without talking to a recruiter. Today however each and every one of them were 140 characters away from their best friend, a photo away from a celebrity, or a 20 second video away from inspiration. The thought at this moment still seems like perfection until I realize that the opposite is also true. They are a screen name away from complete perversion, a status update away from appearing completely ignorant, or one screen shot away from having the rest of the world thinking so much less than they actually are, or worse, place them in a compromising position for all time.
Even as I type this I know social media will be one of the avenues that this article will be advertised on and I hope those students who didn’t make it today or maybe weren’t listening quite so well take time to reflect on what type of imprint they are leaving in the world. Even those college students one step away from professional school must realize the world is literally at their fingertips with social media, but if the world sees a poor image it can tie your hands. I hope, somewhere, reading this blog there is a student out there, high school or otherwise, that takes the essential steps to put the best “shine” on the image they put out to the world. I’m not saying don’t have fun, don’t take pictures, or don’t say what you would like, but make sure no one can misinterpret what you are saying. You have a voice…make sure you are controlling it.