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Back on Campus

I was traveling last week for work, and the majority of the time was spent recruiting. I don't normally recruit, but once or twice a year the company sends me to the universities where I attended college and graduate school. Recruiting itself is a bit unsettling, mostly because it feels almost like playing God. Being the one making the decisions (sometimes on the spot) that will so significantly alter the lives of these kids is more responsibility than I'm comfortable with, not to mention no matter how many openings you have, you still have to turn oodles of wonderfully capable kids away. But I still look forward to these trips and for the chance they give me to return to my old stomping grounds and remember the experiences I had on campus years ago. An added highlight now that Schooled has been published is to remember the events included in the book. For instance, I walked by the dorm where I lived and harbored multiple cats, poked my head inside one of the restrooms I used to clean during my 4:00 AM custodial shift, and ate at the cafeteria from which I used to steal cookies.

Though this has nothing to do with my actual purpose in being there, my favorite thing to do while on campus is to get inside a few of the English classes. Seeing as how I was in their shoes a decade ago and have now somewhat surprisingly ended up with a budding business career, I like to get in front of English students and make sure they realize that business is an option for them, and one in which they can make a big difference. I had contacted my favorite professor (he's in the book) beforehand, and he had me speak to a handful of his classes. What a great experience it was to speak to these students, not just as an author, but as an established professional, even though when in their shoes I hadn't had any idea what I would do with my life. "Tali Nay!" the professor said as he initiated a round of applause after my remarks. "Success in LIFE!" he bellowed. And I know that I'm just me, that I've done nothing grand, and that my little book is hardly (read: is not) a money-maker, but hearing him say that has led me to hope that these students can indeed took to me as someone who has been successful in life. And to all the students I met last week, I wish to say this: You are lovely, talented, and poised to make it in this world, even if you have no idea yet how you'll do that. And also, if you see a cat, you should take him in. It will make a great chapter in a book someday.

 

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