Lessons from a Graduate

by Amanda Hahn

May 15, 2021


It was an exciting and emotional day yesterday, as I officially graduated from Avila University with my Master's Science Organization Development Psychology & Leadership Coaching.  I was honored to give the graduate commencement address.  I was so excited and nervous with emotions which overwhelmed me at one point...but I made a quick recovery.  Thank goodness!  These opportunities allow us to stretch and grow and will give me courage the next time I face a new challenge.  


As graduate students, we have made a conscious decision to return to school to learn and grow and do more with our lives. We are partners, spouses, parents, friends, neighbors, co-workers, immigrants, sons & daughters, mentors, coaches, leaders and change makers. We represent all the colors, ages and beliefs in our world. It has been a pleasure to take this journey with an authentically diverse group of students and faculty.
The sacrifices that we have all made to come to this day are very real. Our world has changed since we embarked on this journey. Our world has been going through unprecedented change around us and with us.
Where we started is not where we are today.

Albert Einstein stated:  "The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking.  It cannot be changed without changing our thinking." 

The world has dramatically changed since we had began our journey and now we must decide where we want to go from here.

There are 3 questions that you can ask yourself as you look back over the last 14 months as you begin to look forward to our new "normal."

  1. What am I going to take with me from this experience?
  2. What do I want to leave behind?
  3. What do I want to add?

First, let's begin with what we can leave behind:

  • Focusing on what separates us.
  • The idea of "we can't".
  • This is the way we have always done it.
  • We don't have the resources.
  • Our silence.
  • The pandemic and the significant loss of life including many loved ones.
  • The loss of freedom to move, travel, and physically connect with others.

What can we take forward to our new normal?

  • Authentic and intentional connection with others in person and with technology.
  • Learning to have thoughtful, respectful conversations on difficult topics.
  • Leaning in to the beauty of learning from each other with our diverse experiences and perspectives.
  • Recognizing that we don't always need to agree, but that each of our voices matter.
  • Being intentional, resourceful, and giving helps us to prosper even during challenging times.
  • We have learned that we are resilient.
  • We are more alike than we are different....we are all humans wanting to thrive.
  • Our faith can help us through challenges together.
  • We can change, especially if we do it together.

What can we add to our experience as  we move forward?

  • Using our voice in positive and meaningful ways - in the workplace, our homes, our community and the world.
  • Grace - we can always use and extend more grace to others.
  • Embracing change - the world will continue to change and so must we.  We can be the change, we can lead the change.

We are the change makers!

Mahatma Gandhi shared these words:  "You must be the change you wish to see in the world."

We are the change makers, now go change the world.

Amanda Hahn
Amanda Hahn Coaching