Chatham seniors celebrate 116 days until graduation

On Friday, Jan. 22, in what is quickly becoming an established campus tradition, Chatham University hosted its third annual “116 Days Until Graduation,” a mixer and motivational event for graduating seniors.

The intimate affair, hosted in the Mellon Board Room, drew a crowd of approximately 30 people.  Starting with hors d’oeuvres and drinks, the event allowed seniors to mingle with the staff in attendance, including event organizer Assistant Director of Alumni Relations Dana DePasquale and Assistant Dean for Career Development Dr. Sean McGreevey, as well as several Chatham alumni.

After a half an hour of mixing and mingling students were encouraged to make their way towards a seating area in the back of the room in anticipation for the evening’s main event, Keynote speaker and 2013 Chatham alumna Emily Cassel.

Introduced by Chatham Student Government president Sarah Jugovic, who took the opportunity to plug the senior class gift of Adirondack chairs and picnic tables for the quad, and to promote the fundraising event “Moonlight Boozy Breakfast” on Thursday, Feb. 18, Cassel — an entrepreneur, Women’s Leadership Coach, and Sisterhood Expert — took the floor amidst a round of applause.

Cassel began by saying that not too long ago she was sitting in the exact same place as the student’s in attendance.  She explained that there is a space between the “now” and any big event, adding, “how infrequently we appreciate the time between, because we’re so focused on that big event.”

She then encouraged students to close their eyes and imagine meeting themselves 116 days in the future. She asked them to think, “What do I need to know right now that would help me become more like [my future self].”

After giving everyone a chance to think for a while, Cassel asked the audience for words and themes that described their future selves, and received answer like “balanced,” and “stress-free.” She went on to say this is a technique that professional athletes often use, and one that she use with her clients.

Cassel then went on to give a little bit of her own background, explaining that her passions in college were positive psychology — how to move someone from their baseline mental and emotional state, to a better and more positive one — and nutrition, and how her first job out of college, working at Whirl Magazine’s Edible Allegheny publication, was fun, but didn’t feel like “it” for her.  

“Our purpose is a line,” she explained, “ and everyone once in awhile our path crosses over that line and we feel really good and exciting and enthusiastic.”

So, as she said, she thought back about what made her excited, and the answer was positive psychology and coaching, so she took a risk and decided to start her own business.

As she said, “the quality of your life is in direct proportion to the amount of uncertainty you can handle.  

“Taking those leap of faith the best things you can do,” she added.  “We’re kind of risk averse as human, but you don’t have to say yes to that human monkey mind that says that any time to take a risk you will die.”

Cassel said that as soon as she branched out on her own the opportunities came flooding in, and with it the lifestyle that she wanted that allowed her to have clients, take care of herself, work from home if she wanted to, and generally be an activist and coach for women.

“My challenge for you over the next 116 days is to not be afraid to ask for what you want,” she said, adding, “what do you want your day to look like, how do you want to feel, what kind of impact do you want to have on the world at large?”

Her final advice was to say that success is about more than just the end goal, and that everyone in attendance should give themselves permission to “be in the process,” and to remember to take care of themselves.

After the address Cassel spent some time answer audience questions, after which McGreevey took the stage to give closing remarks and remind student that the office of Career Development exists to do more than just edit resumes.

As he said, “interviews are resumes are about telling your story.  Thinking about the things that are behind, and being able to tell that story to the people in front of you.”

McGreevy concluded by saying how proud he is of the people that the senior will become, and initiating a toast to the senior class.

After the speakers, students were once again encouraged to talk o the alumni in attendance, and ask for advice for their futures.

Cassel also encouraged student to contact her with any question via email at [email protected]