A letter from Tom Rocklin, vice president for student lifeGreetings from Iowa City! Winter now is in full swing, and the spring semester is under way. I hope the young people in your family had a great fall semester and that you got to spend some time enjoying their company during the break.
One of the things that helps me maintain perspective on our work with students is visiting with former students. It is only when I visit alumni that I get to really see the fruits of the work we do here. I was in Washington, D.C., recently and had the chance to visit with some of our young alumni. “Young” is an expanding category for me as I become less and less young. These folks were mostly in their late-20s to mid-30s. They were all former student leaders and were mostly successfully settled into their careers.
They were all proud to be graduates of the University of Iowa and attributed much of their success to their experiences here. Of course, they appreciated the knowledge they had gained in their classes. Some were working in careers directly related to their majors in college, and many had found their way to work that was less clearly connected to their majors. In either case, the communication, critical thinking, collaboration, and other skills they had learned were serving them well.
They also mentioned how their out-of-class experiences had helped build those skills. Just as with their majors, some of them were working in fields directly related to the kinds of student organizations in which they had participated and others had used those student organization experiences to gain skills that they had transferred to new domains.
I was struck, as I so often am, by how valuable the University of Iowa experience is, particularly when it includes a broad array of both class work and out-of-class experiences. I hope your sons and daughters are taking advantage of their time here by engaging fully in all that we have to offer, including our classes, research with a faculty member, study abroad, leadership development opportunities, student organizations, and campus employment.