By Maxine Lopez
Students and faculty laughed, listened to each other’s stories and spoke about the things they loved and hated under the guidance of Chief Operating Officer (COO) of The Total Solutions Group, Director of Collegiate Empowerment and alum Joe Urbanski (’03), who hosted a lecture on “Preventing a Miserable Career” in the Library Auditorium on Wednesday, April 6.
Urbanski promised a high-energy program that would “not be like a normal lecture.” He did not disappoint the crowd as he asked the audience to participate in small activities and conversations to share their own insights on what was necessary to avoid what he calls a “D life.”
In an attempt to demonstrate the severity of being in a miserable job, Urbanski offered the statistic that one-third of our lives is spent at work. Failing to pick the best career would thus be failing one-third of life, or getting a 67 percent on a life test — a “D.”
Urbanski spoke bluntly about the pits people fall into when doing a job that isn’t within the scope of their passion or abilities.
Junior accounting major Ed Guippone applied this advice to his own life.
“It actually forced me to think about (my future),” Guippone said. “My passions are not only technical. My passions are also creative and what I got out of this was how I could apply creativity to my technical job. I’m feeling happy about being able to do that.”
Sophomore sociology major Olguine Paul appreciated Urbanski’s straightforward advice.
“He speaks the truth about what life is and what to expect,” Paul said.
Urbanski spent much of the presentation redefining GPA: Collegiate Empowerment’s acronym that stands for genius, passion and achievement. This is was what Urbanski called “the real GPA.”
He defines genius as what one is better at than anyone else he or she knows. Passion is “the energy to do your best,” while achievement is more than just success, it’s the act of trying and planning along the way.
A major theme of the lecture was the importance of getting out there and experiencing things.
“If you don’t know what you are passionate about, then you haven’t done it yet,” Urbanski said.
Whether it was a story, statistic, comparison or personal revelation, the audience followed along with enthusiasm. They jumped up to participate in some conversations and listened silently as he lectured, answering with an enthusiastic “Oh yeah” when Urbanski asked if they were still there.
In addition to rethinking the concept of “real GPA,” among the advice he offered students was to go to the Career Center, talk to the advisers, listen to what people say they are good at and focus on planning the next four years of college.
Guippone said that the strategy of creating four-year goals was his favorite advice of the lecture and he plans to do it in the future.
During the program, Urbanski emphasized that work shouldn’t feel like work. He stressed that students should find a job that they are excited to go to every day, both “a privilege and an obligation.”
“It doesn’t feel like anything because it’s your thing. It doesn’t feel like effort,” Urbanski said.
After the lecture, Paul said she felt even more driven to pursue her career goals, which is to become an English as a Second Language teacher. Both Guippone and Paul expressed their desires to find reassurance and guidance for their career aspirations through the lecture.
Urbanski spoke about his experiences at the College being defined by his involvement in clubs, specifically with the Leadership Development Program. Urbanski said it was through this program that he was able to find what he was meant to do in life. He expressed a love for public speaking and helping others, which led him to the position he is in today.
“If college taught what it was supposed to teach, I wouldn’t be here,” Urbanski said. “But I’m not complaining because if they did, I wouldn’t have a job.”