President's message to students on fall break

Oct. 18, 2017

Greetings again, Carolina students!

We find ourselves in mid-semester and, already, at fall break. I can only imagine how excited you are about a four-day interlude in the rhythm of the semester ... which I trust is going well. I'd like you to think about something that I was reminded of recently while talking to a friend of mine who is a part-time beekeeper.

Bees are among the most amazing creatures on the planet. Of course, they produce honey but they are also among the most important pollinators of food crops in the world. Aerodynamically, they should have trouble flying with their very short wings yet they not only fly but they can carry up to 80 percent of their body weight as they do. What I want you to appreciate is that they offer us lessons on leading productive and rewarding professional lives.

Nature is a wonder to behold and fall break is a perfect time to behold it. ... You don't have to go anywhere special to appreciate nature; just take some time, wherever you are, to smell the roses.

Cooperation is key to their success. Bees come together to work as a unit and their contributions become vital only as part of their community. Furthermore, they start their honey-making "careers" by doing smaller tasks, being trained in many functions as they climb the ladder to the more complex tasks, eventually becoming bees who actually produce the honey. This provides flexibility to the team so that, if needed, the leaders can go back to doing the more elementary functions.

Bees are also master communicators. They use complex vibrations and release pheromones to increase their efficiency and get their work done. Workplace communication is super important to all successful organizations. Humans use technology to communicate but technology can also cloud the basic and simple information that may be more important to our success at work. Bees are conservative about their resources. They store their excess nectar when the weather is auspicious so they can have enough to make it through the tougher times. And finally, bees practice servant-leadership. Don't think that the queen bee acts "royally," sitting around being catered to by her workers. She provides the eggs that serve as the foundation of the colony's survival, resilience and future success and works just as hard as anyone.

Let's not forget that while bees are extraordinary creatures, nature is extraordinary in myriad ways and offers abundant lessons to anyone who chooses to observe. Nature is also a wonder to behold and fall break is a perfect time to behold it. A walk in the woods is always nice but nature is all around us, in cities as well as in the country. You don't have to go anywhere special to appreciate nature; just take some time, wherever you are, to smell the roses.

So, make the most of your time away from school, spend some time outdoors, and "bee prepared" to return as an even better team member and an even better member of the university family.

See you soon!

Harris Pastides

Carolina Bee