Show Me John Legend

That you did Bucknell, that you did.

And now I’m going to take something cool and turn it into career advice.

I know…I hope I don’t ruin it for you.

Last night I attended the John Legend talk and performance and was blown away, much like the rest of the crowd (at least according to Twitter).  I don’t know if it’s just because I work at the CDC or not but I felt like his talk was very much about careers; not being afraid to take risks, following your passion, trying something new, failing and starting over. His talk had as much to do with believing you can be an agent of change for the greater good as it did with simply believing in yourself.  He took us along his career path, told us what he learned from the experience, and made it OK to recognize that you don’t have to follow a certain “path” even if all your peers seem to be taking the same one. My favorite quote was, when speaking about the Wharton School of Business, he said “it’s not the whole school but it takes a lot of the oxygen.” I may be wrong but I know there are certain majors that get a lot of attention, or oxygen, here at Bucknell. It’s easy to get swept away in thinking that everyone here has the same aspirations and/or will go into the same career field but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Just taking a quick glance at the Alumni Directory in B-Link (Seniors, remember you have access to this now!) shows you that Bucknellians go into very diverse areas. For instance, let’s look at the next Bucknell Forum speaker: alumnus Makoto Fujimura ’83 an internationally acclaimed artist. There are enough limits in this world, don’t limit yourself.

John Legend offered up some great examples: the first being his Show Me Campaign which is an initiative that uses education to break the cycle of poverty. What’s even better is that there is a fellowship program that provides a $3,000 stipend for students with unpaid internships in education or international development. The Show Me Campaign Fellows program is now accepting applications for the Summer 2011 program; the deadline to apply is May 27, 2011, find out more. He even encouraged Bucknell students to apply! Make sure you make the best impression you can and come into the CDC for help on your resume and cover letter. Get the application details.

If this sounds familiar to you (a $3,000 stipend for an unpaid internship in a non-profit[ish] area) you get a gold star for paying attention to me because – YES! – we have a similar program. Were you shouting BPIP from the balcony too? Excellent! But too few of you realize that Bucknell has a very unique program called the Bucknell Public Interest Program (BPIP) and the BPIP Internship Fund, which is a competitive summer internship program that provides $3000 stipend to selected undergraduate students who have secured unpaid internships in the nonprofit, public service sector. It’s even been written up in the Washington Post! The deadline is March 26th and there will be several info sessions so be sure to mark your calendar for one of them (next one is 2/1) to learn more.

Helpful Hint: For help finding unpaid, non-profit internships, do a 1-click non-profit/BPIP search on the BRIDGE

John Legend is also a big advocate for Teach for America. To think this organization started out as a thesis by Wendy Kopp. If this doesn’t inspire, and show, all of you that you can make a difference when you think creatively about problems and it can start when you are in college well, then, I’m not sure what will. 140 alumni have found jumping off points for their careers, and change, with Teach  For America: will you be the next Bison to take on the challenge? The last deadline is February 10th.

I would round this out by posting his song “Dream” but guess what…it’s not out yet!

So all you lucky students that got to go…you know what I’m humming.

For everyone else: his new album will be out soon.


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