Adapt to What Comes Your Way: Video Transcript

Doug Haddix (Journalism and Political Science majors, Miami, 1985) [Assistant Vice President at Ohio State University]: My path is like many people's path, it's not a direct one. When I started at Miami, I was convinced that I would be going to law school. That's one reason that I selected Miami, because it has such a strong liberal arts background, and you can get a strong pre-law education here. My passion was always journalism, so I ended up changing and becoming a journalism major and started working in newspapers.

While I was at Miami, I started working at the student newspaper and began as a reporter there and then worked my way up so that my senior year I was editor of The Miami Student, and that was a remarkable experience.

What I've learned in that role as a writer and then as the editor helped me in my career later on. It helped me get my first job in Springfield, at the newspaper there, because I had a good portfolio of stories that I had written here in Oxford on campus.

One of my journalism professors, we had a long talk one day after coffee, and he kept asking me, "Why do you want to go to law school?", and I never had a really good answer for him, and as we talked more about journalism and writing, he helped me understand that that's where my true passion is.

His advice was, do what you care most about, what you think you can make a difference doing, because you're going to be doing that 8, or 10, or 12 hours a day, so it better be something that you feel passion and commitment for.

Follow your heart and do what you think you can do to make a difference and not worry so much about the things that as college students we worried about, like getting a job or having a certain salary, or having career protection, or having stability. No job has been stable during my career in any profession, so it was wonderful advice, and I'm glad I followed it.

Being a liberal arts major has made a huge difference in my career. Things that I used to take for granted, like being able to write pretty well, being able to synthesize a lot of different information, being able to be a quick study to parachute in on a topic that I was not as familiar with before, and to analyze the information, process all of that, and be able to communicate it in writing and verbally has been super critical in all of the jobs that I've had over the years. That ability to think, to process, to synthesize, and then to communicate effectively has served me well.

Thinking about the future, I keep a really open mind. That's what I tried to do since leaving Miami. I used to go into a job and think I'm going to do this for X number of years or have a plan, and I've learned over the years that you can't predict in that way. Your job cycle takes different twists and turns, so I've tried to be open to different opportunities. That’s why I'm at Ohio State University now and also leading our Kiplinger Program for Public Affairs Journalism. It's a combination of being at the university and also still working with mid-career journalists on training, so I have no idea what the future holds, but I'm open to different possibilities and opportunities.

Being a liberal arts major, I've learned that change is inevitable, and that you need to be a lifelong learner, and that you need to adapt to whatever comes your way, and to think critically about it, and to process and move on. That's served me well as a journalist and as a communicator.

Being able to learn here in kind of a safe environment, being able to take chances, being able to develop lifelong friends that we still see all these years later, has been remarkable, and I feel very blessed that I was able to have the experience at Miami that helped me become the adult that I've become.

[November 2013]