Perspectives on Navigating Your Journey
Amy Lind Corbett ’70

Two years ago, my daughter and I were on a 737 heading toward Milwaukee. About halfway there, she turned to me and said, “You know, Mom, the last time we flew together, we jumped out!” Yes, a few months earlier, we parachuted together - a first for both of us.

Somewhere in a math class long, long ago, I was told that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. As a pilot, I can tell you - that’s not only true, but it’s preferred. Career-wise, however, the shortest distance was not my preferred route.

It has not been a driect path from my Regis graduation in 1970 to where I stand today. And to that I say, thank God! I’m here to tell you why.

The first point is side trips. Go ahead and take that leap - even if it doesn’t involve a parachute. There are plenty of challenges right here, at zero altitude. The challenges are where you’ll find fulfillment and adventure. And the side trips are good places to look for them.

While the concept of making a plan is appealing and wise, there is nothing like keeping your mind open to finding possibilities or adventure in careers and in life. So, take a leap. Be open to leaving your comfort zone to seek growth opportunities to become all you can be.

Adventure does not come looking for you. It’s the other way around.

In the late ‘70s when I was teaching, I didn’t know any pilots. Not a single one. But I did know for sure that I wanted to fly. I looked in the Yellow Pages ...imagine that... to find a flight school. I got a night job as a restaurant hostess to pay for flying lessons. Becoming a pilot mattered to me, so I made it happen.

Not long after getting my pilot’s license, I left my tenured teaching position to do something else I had had in the back of my mind for a while. I went to Law School. While there, I sought an Internship in the Legal Office of the Federal Aviation Administration. I never left. The FAA hired me as an Aviation Attorney, trying enforcement cases representing the United States.

So, take some side trips. We don’t know what we’re capable of until we put ourselves out there. I did, and never looked back.

The second observation I learned, fortunately, from somebody else’s mistake: Don’t burn bridges. Consider this professional nightmare: You never know when you look up at work one day and see that the face looking back at you is the person from the other side of that bridge you burned... and, oh yes... that’s your new Boss!

Don’t burn bridges, ever, under any circumstances. It’s tempting. It may even feel good, but that’s just temporary.

Now, you may need to walk away from some people and some situations, but try to do so with dignity for all. Leave people thinking better of themselves than you found them. Leave them thinking they’re better for having dealt with you.

My third and final point: Invest in Yourself. We each have our own story and, in large part, we write our story by what we say and what we do. The opportunities we create, the decisions we make, the mentors and role models we choose give direction to the lives, the careers, and the successes we have.

The role models in my life invest in themselves. These role models include my mother, my older sister Susan, and my aunts, who are all Regis graduates. They value education and never stop learning. And, they stay current.

I also am deeply grateful to the Sisters of St. Joseph of Boston, especially my aunt Sister Jeanne d’Arc O’Hare, and to Regis College. I was educated here by some of the finest minds who taught me how to think for myself and who modeled a perspective that has deeply influenced my life.

Invest in yourself. Continuously. Keep up with personal growth, as well as professional skills with emerging technologies and new information. Your education is not done yet.

Professionally, keep up, or you’ll be watching from the sidelines. From my perspective, sitting on the sidelines is only great for watching the Boston Marathon. Otherwise, when it comes to your profession, no sidelines. Take training courses, get an advanced degree volunteer for difficult assignments, read professional journals. Invest in yourself.

Remember, with your College Degree, you now have arrived... at the Starting Point. That is why this is called your Commencement! You’re just starting - you’ve got that college degree. Now, continue to invest in yourself, for all of the days of your life.

So, that’s it.

  1. Take side trips
  2. Don’t burn bridges, and
  3. Invest in yourself

This is your journey. You call the shots. Regis has put you in the best position to succeed on all counts. And, everyone here is rooting for you.

I wish you, the Regis College Graduates of 2012, all the joys of lives well lived.

Congratulations!

Regis College Commencement 2012 Address: Perspectives on Navigating Your Journey