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What We Learned from Jane Goodall

Recently, we had the honor of hearing Jane Goodall, in the flesh, give a talk at our University. Absolutely. Incredible. I don’t even know how I’m able to put this experience into words right now…! Dr. Goodall, an outstandingly accomplished, absolutely remarkable, superbly intelligent woman of 80 years old (rather, 80 years of profound wisdom) has impacted the way we understand ourselves; how we interact with our environment; and why we should start thinking critically about our future. She is the ultimate role model: smart, poised, humble, passionate, funny, and makes admirable, impactful improvements to the world around her.

Dr. Goodall’s unique, fresh perspective on how we live offered us these gems of insight. Read on for a dose of inspiration that just might alter your own perspective, too:

  1. There are always greater problems than your own. Dr. Goodall discussed the massive challenges facing our environment today: a lack of natural resources, oil drilling, fracking, and essentially the human destruction of the place we call home. Let’s face it: these problems can’t be solved overnight. They’re massive, incomprehensible, and overwhelming for sure. And while many of us constantly feel that way at college, try to keep things in perspective: you’re not the only one dealing with difficulties, or trying to overcome obstacles.
  1. It’s important to give back. Sure, you participate in community service events or projects throughout the semester, but do you live to serve? I’m not talking about bringing truck-fulls of bread to local food banks each day, but making service a part of your everyday routine will work wonders for your soul. Go out of your way each day to make a stranger smile; donate money to a local charity; take up regular community service hours at our local YCMA; or help your downtown neighbors with their gardens and lawns. Much like Jane has given back in big ways to countries all over the world, even the smallest acts of service go a long way…for others, and for you.
  1. Think about the future. During her talk, Dr. Goodall urged us to think about the future of our environment and planet if we don’t act now. While we should always be conscientious about how we’re impacting the environment on a daily basis, this solid piece of life advice to “act now” is certainly very applicable for all of us. Currently as college students, we need to act now in order to better prepare ourselves for the “real world.” So sometimes, it might be better to swap cookies for salad; finish an assignment before hitting the town; and spend some extra time searching for jobs instead of binging on Netflix (but hey, I did say “sometimes”…).
  1. Find a passion.  It is clear to anyone who is lucky enough to see her speak that Dr. Goodall exudes passion for her career. She loves what she does; she loves learning about new people and new cultures; and she loves making a difference. Channel Dr. Goodall’s passion into your own life: do something that excites you, and it won’t feel like a work.


After listening to the wise words of Dr. Goodall, it’s safe to say that she’s now the hottest female idol on campus. Forget celebrities and pop stars; we love a lady who’s headstrong, wildly successful (ha, get it?!), articulate, and carries herself gracefully. Jane Goodall’s got it going on…now it’s up to us to follow in her epic footsteps.

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