You may have glimpsed at the title of this blog post and thought “Slow down, Erin. A little over eager on the Christmas talk. It’s only September.” But, this post is actually not about Christmas, but about one of my teachers this semester. Mr. Pugliese, AKA Santa Clause. He teaches a class on Management of Human Resources. In other words, he teaches real life lessons on how to survive and not get eaten alive in a workplace setting. Where he got this second name, well, it’s an inspiring and uplifting story actually. Before I get into that, here is a little rundown of my first day of Mr. Pugliese’s class. First off, preparing for a marathon class is impossible. You moan and groan about the inability to sit through a 2 and a half hour class without getting too antsy and staring at the clock. I admittedly assumed I’d feel like this as I entered Feinstein Room 116 but was quickly put into a trance of focus and interest in what was going on around me. Within the first few minutes, Mr. Pugliese told my 28 classmates and I a few things about him, let us in on a few lessons he has learned throughout life, played a song which served as a message from him to all of us. He played a song by Philip Phillips (all the American Idol fans out there can appreciate this) called “Home”. We listened, we reflected, and we understood the message. The words read,
“Settle down, it’ll all be clear
Don’t pay no mind to the demons
They fill you with fear
The trouble it might drag you down
If you get lost, you can always be found”
At the beginning of every class, Mr. Pugliese will play a song, a song that’s lyrics he agrees with and wants to relay to us. As a junior, I am only a year and a half away from entering that huge, scary world out there where the future is eary and not promised. The competition to get a job in today’s society is difficult and quite frankly, scary. When I exited the class at 6:30, I was assured that I would be just fine. I would find my way because I, just like the rest of my classmates, won’t give up if the first potential opportunity doesn’t work out like it does in story books. So, this past week, I walked into class preparing myself for a new song and the lessons learned that I mentioned earlier. These are the notes I took of the “lessons learned” that Mr. Pugliese put on the board.
“Believe in yourself always” and “Follow through—Do what you say you are going to do.” Couldn’t be more true. A few of the other lessons we have learned are “Never burn your bridges” and “Be sure to always have work/life balances.” We discussed the chance of needing a former employee in the future. Besides employees, family members, friends, teachers, anyone you encounter in life…they are resources and parts of your road to success. They teach us worthwhile skills or teach us what we don’t want in a job, employer, or friend. Regardless, they help to build our character and make us better. The work/life balance Mr. Pugliese discussed was always being sure you are having fun throughout life. Balance your job with your family and friends and whatever you do that makes you happy. Continue to do those things no matter what. And this brings me to how my teacher at PC also has the name “Santa Claus”. When Mr. Pugliese was 50, he had a random thought, those thoughts that whisk into our mind and we shut out because they seem out of the realm of possibility. He wondered, “What would it be like to be a mall Santa?” Mr. Pugliese was interviewed and hired as a mall Santa at a local shopping mall. On December 25th of every year, he shaves his Santa Claus-esque white beard and starts to grow it out once again for the next 365 days, in order to get into character for the next Christmas season. And every year, he visits children and their families, listens to their lists, and goes home at night just like you and I.
I will leave you with that story. I have had incredible professors at PC and when they let you in on parts of their lives that have brought them to where they are now, you begin to feel a certain classroom atmosphere that is irreplaceable. As you enter the weekend, if a seemingly crazy thought or dream pops into that head of yours, don’t lose it. Chase it. You never know what will bring you happiness. Starting a blog all about this community and campus that I call home was always a distant dream that is now a reality. As I sit here in my 6th floor Cunningham apartment overlooking Providence, I feel lucky to be able to share stories like this with you. Stories that make me and hopefully you smile. One last thing. Remember, “Believe in yourself always.”