Dean’s Advice to Graduates: Time Races On; Think About It

Time was the subject of Dean Mary Brabeck’s speech to the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development’s graduating class of 2011.

At ceremonies honoring 2,417 students, who were awarded baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral degrees, the dean used the research of neuroscientist David Eagleman to help students ease their passage from college to the real world and understand why their days “seemed long,” but their college years “seemed to fly by.”

“Dr. Eagleman thinks that what makes time slow down for us is our degree of attention. Our brains may be programmed to slow down time so as to capture every element of an experience,” the dean said. “That is why the New York minute is a finger snap long and the moment of being tongue tied, when asked a question on an oral exam, lasts an eternity.”

In closing, Brabeck reminded students to remember to take time out from their busy lives to think.

“If we taught you well, you know that thinking is the root from which the tree of knowledge and all its great branches spring,” she said.

Visit Steinhardt’s 2011 Graduation page.

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Mary M. Brabeck, Ph.D., is Professor of Applied Psychology and the Gale and Ira Drukier Dean of the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development. She is a fellow of APA and her research focuses on intellectual development, professional ethics, and inter-professional collaboration.