Dr. Findley inspires Robbinsville seniors
Robbinsville alumni Dr. Daniel Findley (Class of 2001) was guest speaker Thursday at the Robbinsville High School Academic Banquet, which recognizes seniors graduating with honors.
“Give yourself time to learn,” said Findley, a senior research associate for the Institute for Transportation Research and Education at North Carolina State University. “To be an elite level performer you need to put in 10,000 hours of study. That’s five years. Even though you don’t have a full 40 hours a week where you are sitting in classes, you need to commit to studying for a full 40 hours every week. You may only spend 15 hours a week sitting in a classroom, but you need to be self-motivated and put in the rest of the hours on your own.”
Findley offered priceless advice for the senior students in the audience.
“Graham County is a great place to learn solid values. You understand the value of community. When you leave here, that knowledge stays with you always.”
Findley emphasized how important persistence and perseverance is to an individual. One of the things my dad always said was to “Carry on!” My father was in an accident that left him paralyzed when I was in my second week of my freshman year in college. I wanted to leave school and go home to be with my family. It was hard. My mother and father insisted I stay in school and focus on my studies.”
Findley pointed out that the number of students in some of his college classes was higher than the total number of students in his graduation class. “It was intimidating. You can’t let it distract you. Take hand written notes. It helps you focus. Sit in the front of your class and develop a relationship with your professors. They will be an enormous help to you and may lead you to your next job or a new career path.”
“I recommend that you live on campus, no matter how tempting it is to live elsewhere. When you live on campus you can immerse yourself in college life. You can learn about the profession you want to join. Take opportunities to get involved. Join clubs and professional associations.”
Shaking his head, Findley pointed out that he does not believe that the old saying “Love what you do and you’ll never work a day” is valid. “Passion follows competency! The more you learn about a subject the more excited you become. Everyone has good days and not so good days. Persist anyway. Get an internship and find a mentor.”
“I was lucky,” he said. “I knew I was interested in engineering when I was in high school. There is nothing wrong with changing your mind once you get to college, or not really knowing what you want to do. One of my regrets is that I did not study abroad. If you get the opportunity, do it! Become a global citizen.”
Other pearls of wisdom from Findley:
• “Examine yourself. Note objectively your strengths and weaknesses.Then work on your skills. If you know that you aren’t the best public speaker and that your career will involve public speaking, then learn to be an excellent public speaker.”
• “If you hate conflict and don’t know how to deal with it, become a volunteer kid’s athletic coach and practice conflict management until you are good at it!”
• “Very importantly, don’t let failure define you – learn from it. Everyone experiences failure throughout their lives. It’s OK. Determine what didn’t work and why, then try again.”
• “Once you start college, you are responsible for yourself. No own but you
is going to get you up in the morning
and to classes on time. No one forces you to go. Be prepared, be positive, make your best effort when you do anything and be coachable.”
• “When my company hires interns, we don’t know how dependable they will be. We start them out doing something very basic, like making copies or filing paperwork. The ones that take great care and watch the details are the ones we give more responsibilities. Work to be useful, success will follow.”
• “Go out and explore the world!”
Crystal Cody, Robbinsville High School Counselor, was thrilled that Findley could speak. “We have wanted to get him to come for years, but the timing was wrong. This year it worked!”
Daniel Findley is the son of well-known residents of Robbinsville, Frank Findley, recently passed away, and Jan Findley.