Holmes gives last lecture on post-college life
February 17, 2011
After over 44 years of instruction, religious studies professor David Holmes will retire Feb. 22 — but not before giving students some advice.
In a lecture Monday, Holmes encouraged students to avoid leading a life of quiet desperation by following their hearts. Holmes and David Hein addressed other common concerns of students during their post-college years during the session, which was entitled “The Ten Years after College.”
“The five to ten years after college are the most important in a person’s life. It’s a time of discovery,” Holmes said. “There are too many conflicting ideas during undergraduate years for the real person to come about until later. Evidence indicates that we do not know who we are and what we want to do for our lives until we are 25, or even nearer to 30.”
Hein and Holmes both recalled the career paths they thought they would take at the age of 20. Hein studied to be a lawyer, while Holmes planned to be in advertising or hotel management.
“Students of America’s second oldest college … almost all of you have a life of unfulfilled options ahead. Now, fulfill the rest of these options with great care,” Holmes said. “Do what makes you lose track of time; be diligent with yourself.”
Holmes warned against becoming Sinclair Lewis’s character Babbitt, who married without love, and worked without passion. Instead, Holmes championed the examples of Madeline Albright and Condoleeza Rice as two women who did not find their political career paths until they were close to 30.
“Be prepared for failure — in college you are not being prepared for it, but you are going to,” Holmes said. “Keep in mind that there is no commandment saying you have to have a job immediately after college.”
It was only after he installed the third brake in Cadillacs and served in the military for two years that Holmes entered graduate school for religious studies.
Hein listed Montreal, Chicago, San Francisco, the Caribbean and Budapest as some places new graduates should consider visiting, or even living.
“When I look back on it, I probably should not have gone to graduate school in Chicago immediately after college,” Hein said.
Holmes was less willing to advocate living internationally at the moment.
“A cautionary word: Most countries are experiencing a recession, so don’t go somewhere you will just join the unemployment columns. Chicago is a good place, my favorite city,” Holmes said. “Becoming a bartender in Bermuda is not a license for play, but a license for exploration.”
In regard to love, Holmes did not have an ideal age at which someone should marry, but did offer one suggestion before becoming committed.
“Marry from a position of strength, not from weakness … weakness being loneliness, or being poor. Other than that, age doesn’t really matter,” he said.