the best advice i’ve ever received

By: Paulina Kostecki
​When I was a freshman in college, I had a very genuine and intellectual business professor. For confidentiality reasons, let’s call her Professor Cat. The majority of my classmates called Professor Cat “strict” and said they would never take her classes again if their lives depended on it. However, I always saw Professor Cat as someone who wanted all of her students to reach their full potential, and I admired her for that.

On our last day of class, Professor Cat answered exam questions, passed back final projects, handed out evaluations: typical last day of class procedures. But then by surprise, Professor Cat had us all reflect on her only piece of advice she offered us the entire semester. She said, “When you start out in your career one day, you will be the youngest person in the room, and you will convince yourself that everyone in the room is smarter than you. At the end of your career, you will be the oldest person in the room and convince yourself that everyone in the room is dumber than you. You will be wrong both times.” She paused for a minute, then in the silence, she gathered her things and exited the lecture hall.

It is now three years later, and I am in my senior year of college, but I constantly go back to that enormous lecture hall and can vividly remember Professor Cat offering her only advice to the room full of clueless 17 and 18-year-olds. Since I’m only an intern, it’s easy for me to fall into the background at work and not offer any suggestions or any helpful feedback but I’m almost always reminded that just because I’m the youngest person in the office, it doesn’t mean I can’t offer any help or suggestions. On the other hand, I hope that one day when I’m older and well-established in my field, I will remember that the young ones have good ideas and suggestions, too. 

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