Graduation letters: Edward Jackiewicz


Illustration by Brandon Sarmiento

Edward Jackiewicz

Edward Jackiewicz, Ph.D., is the chair of the geography and environmental studies department at the college of social and behavioral sciences. You can learn more about him here.

The Sundial asked that I write a short piece — “Letters to my younger self,” to reflect on how I felt when I completed my undergraduate degree — that might inspire some words of wisdom for the graduating class of 2023. It is now exactly 40 years since my graduation from Arizona State University with a degree in business management. I am a first-generation college student and fumbled my way through the four years in the desert nearly 2500 miles from my childhood home in Connecticut.

The magnificent diversity of the world was never lost on me, even though I had never been anywhere of great interest. The one thing I did know was that I was not going to be afraid to take risks exploring different opportunities, always falling back on the logic of, “What’s the worst that could happen?”

Soon after graduation I relocated to San Francisco looking for something different, something exciting. I embarked on a whole new life armed with a college degree and a thirst for experience, a thirst that I am still trying to quench to this day.

I made many questionable decisions, including some that did not work out so well, but always pursued the next great experience. So, as you exit CSUN, seek out experiences, big and small, whether it’s a safari in Tanzania or a trip to Little Ethiopia right here in Los Angeles. If we in the department of geography and environmental studies did anything well, I hope it was to help you develop a curiosity about the world that can never be satiated. It’s a very exciting time in your life, but it’s up to you how to make the most of it.

Embrace the world, don’t be afraid to take chances, get out of your comfort zone – it’s the best way to grow as an individual. And most of all, don’t forget to have fun!!