Students share thoughts at panel discussion

Students are in constant need of guidance and are not always sure of where to turn to get it. Lack of direction can destroy even the best student, and without the proper planning, even the most driven individual can ruin an otherwise perfect future.

The Society of Professional Journalists recognized the need for mentors among confused students and orchestrated the second “Real World, Real Talk,” discussion Tuesday night in the School of Journalism and Graphic Communication. 

“It should be the primary concern for all instructors of this campus to make sure students are prepared for the future,” said panelist and professor of history Spencer Tyrus.

At first, the panel discussion was split by gender. The panel for the men consisted of Keith Blocker from the Florida Deparment of Health, Reverend Cyrus Flanagan, and professors Kenneth  Jones, Keith Miles, Robert Richardson, and Spencer Tyrus. The women’s panel had Dr. E. Murell Dawson, Sylvia Lamar from the Department of Research, and professors Yanela Gordon, Yakini Kemp and Gina Kinchlow.   

Students were invited to listen to the wisdom of the professors and share some ideas of their own.  The panelists urged the students to voice their own opinions in order to keep the talking fresh.

“If I were on the panel, my message [to the students] would be exactly the same.  My issues were discussed and the panel was broad enough to cover just about everything,” said Brittney Akins, 19, an actuarial science student from Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago.

In an effort to keep the conversation “real,” no subject was out of bounds.  Topics included relationships, the strength of the African American culture, and even homosexuality.

The topic of faith also came up more than once. Panelist and Pastor of the Family Worship & Praise Center, Reverend Cyrus Flanagan, kept the discussion grounded in faith.

“Faith guides our principles, our work ethic, and our purpose. Faith has to do with one’s focus and ability or strength to overcome,” Flanagan said.

Overall, both the panelists and the students were able to take something positive away from “Real World, Real Talk.” For students, being able to discuss issues with adults who talked to and not at them was refreshing and enlightening. For adults, preparing students for the future was its own reward.