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Advice to grads, from passion to persistance

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Bri Dellinger

Corey Sienega

Mark Gantt

Tim Stevenson

Timothy Miller

Marty Weybret

Michael J. Cima

Posted: Friday, June 3, 2011 8:02 am

When Dustin Hoffman’s character, Benjamin Braddock, graduates from college in the 1967 cult classic “The Graduate,” he is given this career advice: “Plastics.” What advice would you offer Lodi’s class of 2011? We asked Lodians who know a bit about pursuing their dreams. These are their words of wisdom — from where to live to how to make money doing what you love.

Bri Dellinger

Morada native and TV show editor who has worked on 'Top Chef,' 'Project Runway' and is currently working on 'The Glee Project.'

"In my experience, the key to growth has been to hone in on my dream job, and do all the small steps necessary to get there. No step is too small. You can’t go from school to success without being devoted to everything along the way: your summer job, your college classes, your interesting hobbies and your internships.

Even if it seems like what you are doing is just temporary, go at it with dedication and integrity and it’ll end up taking you far.

And on top of that, get a mentor (or several). Ask someone doing your dream job how they got there, and whether they can mentor you. Watch them do what they do and ask questions. Seriously! It’s so simple: watch, ask, learn and offer to help.

Before you know it, you'll be doing what you've always dreamed.

Once you are there, push your dreams further and see how far you can go. I know I’m only just beginning."

Corey Sienega

film producer who worked on "Martian Child," "Miss Potter" and  several "Chuckie" films, from Lodi.

"If I can pass along a couple things that continue to inspire me, I'd remind you that tenacity is as important as talent. You needn't be afraid of failing: it's the best way to learn a better way. 

Two of my favorite inspirational quotes for those challenging days when you don't know where to start, or have to pick up and start again: 

"Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it!" (Johann Wolfgang von Goethe).

"Life's like a movie, write your own ending, keep believing, keep pretending  ..." (Jim Henson, "The Muppet Movie")."

Mark Gantt

star of the online TV show, "The Bannen Way;" from Lodi and Stockton.

"Don't wait. Don't wait until you've got it all figured out or have enough money to do it. Whatever it is. Fear of failure and or success is deadly. Everyone has fear and resistance to following through with their dreams.

I had a film director, James Foley, tell me something very specific that helped me. He said, "Write down exactly what you want to do, set a date that you will start doing it and do it. But the key is to write it down. If you don't, you’ll get close to the date and say, 'Well, if I have $10,000 in the bank or $50,000' — no, you wrote down the date now do it." It's tough to do. It's tough to really write down what you want in your life, with no apologies. Well, at least it was for me. So set the goal and then go for it. Ask for help, all businesses and creative endeavors are to a large part a collaboration. You don’t know have to know how to do everything. Just wake each morning and do the next appropriate step. It will more than likely be the thing you least want to do, like make that call or ask for help. Do it. It never is as bad as you've imagined it to be. 

Oh, and enjoy the process and the journey."

Tim Stevenson

pastor at Horizon Community Church in Galt.

"Take advantage of this time to find something that you can pour yourself into, to find a career that you are passionate about and to live a life that demands an explanation."

Timothy Miller

Lodi psychologist and author of "How to Want What You Have."

"Don't be embarrassed to live at home for a long time. (In this economy,) it is probably wiser to stay at home for a while.

Forget about what you’re supposed to do. Think about what you’re good at and do what you love to do."

Marty Weybret
Lodi News-Sentinel publisher
"College is a great way to learn a profession. It is a poor way to choose one. So before you graduate, get experience outside of college — an internship (or two), a challenging summer job (work for experience, not money), interview people who work in the professions you’re considering as a major.
Every day is a holiday for people who enjoy their work.
Reach for the stars, but find a good day job.
Don't overlook sales. How do you know it's not for you if you don't try it?
Not all necessary life skills are taught in required classes. Speech, management and personal finance come to mind.
Colleges are right to require poli sci, pyschology, English and science. Religious studies won’t hurt, either. They will make you a wise friend and a better voter.
Besides your assigned reading, read for fun and read the news.
Have fun in college. It's not the most important thing, but it's part of a good education."

Michael J. Cima
Professor at Massachussettes Institute of Technology, from Lodi.
"I tell students that the best role you can aspire to is to be an innovator. In my mind, innovators have three traits.
First is they are curious. Curious people are collecting solutions to problems they have not yet encountered.
Second, innovators have empathy. They need to understand problems from the perspective of those that have them.
Finally, they are leaders. No one of us has all the skills to solve the problems of our day. Innovators inspire those with the skills to work on the most important problems.
These are elements of character and really don't have to do with when you took algebra."



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