Student Support Services: A Word About History

By Fred Standil
Student Services Advisor at Herzing College

We are all products of a particular time in history. Everyone has a past, a present, and, hopefully, a happy and healthy future. One of the most enduring quotes worthy of mention here is that “those who do not learn from history are destined to repeat the mistakes of the past.”

As a student of history and an educator, I worry about the general dismissiveness of lessons from the past. Another meaningful quote is “with age comes wisdom.” I am going to take the opportunity to edit this phrase: “Wisdom SHOULD come with age.”

Making a commitment to education is a statement that you care about your destiny. It is a willful act of opening one’s mind to possibilities.

I believe that we must all look more closely at our place in society. We need to take stock of the effect we are having on those we care about, on our planet, and on humanity in general. Small acts of kindness are remarkably easy to deliver.

Since shortly before the pandemic, I’ve been meeting with students in an effort to help them move forward as they cross the stepping-stones of life. With very few exceptions, I can report that most people want to develop the attitude, skills, and discipline to achieve their goals.

I believe that we must make a concerted effort to unite generations if we are to learn the lessons of history. Having taught persons of varying ages, life experiences, cultures, and mindsets, I can say without hesitation that there is much to be learned from one another. Life is anything but black and white. Being open to new ideas and experiences leads to better outcomes.

This is where that wisdom comes in. The expression “you want to be on the right side of history” provides excellent food for thought. The first question this quote generates is: What is the right side of history?

I would submit to you that this question requires us to examine our own moral compass. There is one more quote I would like to provide which I hope will strengthen your ability to keep moving forward. It is particularly relevant given the challenges we all face in our daily lives. “No one has the right to diminish one’s self-esteem without the consent of that individual.”

Once again, I am paraphrasing. However, I truly believe this quote is one which we should all take to heart. Imagine a world where everyone was respectful, thoughtful, helpful, and wise beyond their years.

In short: be kind, learn from one another, be aware of history, exercise your moral compass, and do all you can to put yourself on the right side of history.

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