President’s Blog

Teddy Peña

November 16, 2021

“The Closed Mind is the Enemy”

Back in my high school days, I could’ve sworn that I was going to be a world-renowned architect working for a company like Walt Disney Imagineering or Gensler. I was so strict on myself in many ways to go to a specific school to gain a specific degree to get a specific job. Well, like how a lot of literary irony goes, after one semester as an architecture student, it was made clear to me that it was not the industry I thought I had a passion for.

Don’t get me wrong, I still have a crush on architecture, but it’s simply not the path I was created to endure. I stayed at California Baptist University and changed my major to public relations where officially started my journey as a PR student during the fall of 2019. It was a new journey. I was taking introductory classes in fields like journalism and public relations – a professional environment I had never pictured myself in. Despite the unfamiliarity and uncertainty of what I specifically wanted to do, I persisted.

After my first day as an official PR student, I knew I found the path I wanted to go down. For context, deep in my core, I am very much a “type A” personality (no matter how much my mind tries to convince me I am “type B”). I value my friendly, bright, and flexible personality and I also hold organization, timeliness, and structure to be the core of everything I do. So, when I still didn’t have a precise vision as to what I wanted to do with my PR education, it shook me. However, amid the worry and anxiety, my intuition told me to keep a steady pace, a patient heart, and an open mind.

Open mindedness is what carried me through my college career thus far. Outside of college, keeping an open mind brought me to some of the best professional and social opportunities to ever happen to me. As a sociology minor, my heart goes out to the young adult population who is enduring a culture that values linear projection and a tunnel-vision mindset. In the educational and social ecosphere, we are trained to only focus on ourselves and our professional track. While this mindset can be beneficial for people who have known what they wanted to do for a long time, there are still millions of people today who have absolutely no idea of what they want to do with their professional lives and develop a complacent attitude.

This is why I firmly believe that family (including chosen family), friends, and moral values are so important for the individual. If there is a strong foundation rooted in these things, having an open-mind attitude is much more approachable. When the closed mind is saying “no”, “don’t do that”, and “waste of time”, the open mind is conversely saying, “try this if you’re safe and comfortable” and “what if this all works out in the end?”. Having an open mind will set any individual free. The real work is discovering what your walls are so you can then start tearing them down.

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