Friday, May 23, 2008

Unexpected Email from College Freshman Praises FLIPPING BURGERS Advice

Yesterday I received an email from a college student just finishing his freshman year. I hadn’t heard from Alex M. in two years, since the spring of 2006 when he was a high school junior and I met with him in preparation for his applying to college in the fall.

The email was so thrilling to me that I asked Alex’s permission to use it for my blog. He graciously said yes. Here’s what Alex’s email to me said:

I just wanted to update you on my activities since we spoke last (which was quite a long time ago!). Overall I couldn't be happier with college and looking back I know this is the perfect place for me. There are a ton of opportunities to learn about business here, and I have tried to take advantage of them as much as possible.

I was selected among a competitive group of students to be a member of a student-run fund that manages $300,000 of our endowment, and I also started a business journal recently that has quickly grown to nearly 40 members.

I think just looking back on the year and how much I've progressed has really put the conversation we had our first meeting in perspective. I think the first thing you showed me was that a lot of my activities didn't really set me apart; I had a bunch of general things and while some were good, none were spectacular. At college, I have really strived to just find a few activities and pursue them as deeply as possible. I have found it to be much more rewarding.

I have also implemented the other skills you taught me - from saying thank you properly to bringing a pen and pad to every meeting. Every time I do one of those things, it reminds me of our meeting. I have also really worked to develop my network, which is something I know needs a lot of work going forward. However, I have already seen the rewards: I received a great internship at a mutual fund this summer through a professional I had only met once.

In summary, I just wanted to thank you again for the life lessons you taught me. I know I have progressed since our meeting, but I also know I have a lot of work to do. Thank you for helping me get on the right path.

Wow! See why I wanted to put this email on my blog? It’s terrific encouragement for other young people. And, also, it was because of meeting with Alex that I started down the path of writing advice for teens and young adults. I had complained to my older daughter that I had just met with a high school student (Alex) who had so much potential yet wasn’t at all prepared to maximize that potential. She said, “So write a book to help other kids.”

Two years later the FLIPPING BURGERS AND BEYOND book is written but not published; I am blogging about the advice; and I’m currently working on a way to bring the book’s material directly to those who could most benefit from the advice. Thanks, Alex, for having an open mind and being willing to learn and grow. I’m so proud of what you’ve accomplished in your first year of college. Keep up the great work!

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