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Weekend Reading: Commencement Edition

143186839_5c9fad13cd_nToday is Commencement at my institution, and so I’ve gathered posts and a video that might fall under the category of “life advice” (considered broadly). Hopefully these will prove engaging for those just graduating and those long graduated who are sending them off.

  • In the New York Times, Chronicle editor Jeffrey J. Selingo wonders whether it much matters what students choose for their majors. His conclusion? Not as much as the experiences they choose within their chosen field.

    These are many of the same qualities that employers say, in survey after survey, they want in future workers. Hiring managers complain that they often find today’s college graduates lacking in interpersonal skills, problem solving, effective written and oral communication skills, the ability to work in teams, and critical and analytical thinking. Employers say that future workplaces need degree holders who can come up with novel solutions to problems and better sort through information to filter out the most critical pieces.

  • Ann Friedman tries to categorize (and thereby better understands) the different kinds of critique writers face online in “The Disapproval Matrix.”

    Critics: These are smart people who know something about your field. They are taking a hard look at your work and are not loving it. You’ll probably want to listen to what they have to say, and make some adjustments to your work based on their thoughtful comments.

  • This is more “weekend listening,” but should still be edifying for those who never want to leave the library, even after graduating. Recently Lincoln introduced the new Digital Public Library of America. This past week its Executive Director, Dan Cohen, spoke about the project on the Kojo Nnamdi Show.

    How the newly-launched online library builds off the work of public libraries, museums and archives and creates exciting new possibilities for researchers, programmers and curious minds. Public libraries have long played a central role in American communities. The Digital Public Library of America aims to follow in that tradition as an online database of the nation’s collective history and culture. We’ll look at how the newly-launched online library builds off the work of public libraries, museums and archives and creates exciting new possibilities for researchers, programmers and curious minds.

  • Elsewhere on the Chronicle, Jennifer Howard highlights innovators crafting new roles for humanities scholars in the academy.

    Ms. Nowviskie sees such projects as critical to the future health of the humanities. “If we don’t create paths for people who have a deep love and appreciation for the humanities to remain in the orbit of the academy, to contribute to this vast transformation of our cultural inheritance, to think about how we may do analysis and interpretation going forward, and to think about how we preserve this work for future generations,” she says, “we are lost.”

In this week’s video, all-around brilliant man Stephen Fry ruminates on…well on just about everything. He offers advice to his 15-year-old self that seems equally apropos to 18-year-old or 22-year-old or 45-year-old selves everywhere.

[Creative Commons licensed photo by Flickr user CarbonNYC.]

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