Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Attention to All 15-Year-Olds

When I was fifteen years old, I attended a seminar about economics. Now, I had willingly filled out the application and even looked forward to this seminar (It's okay to call me a dork right about now), but I did not really know what to expect at this seminar or where it would lead me.

The seminar ended up sparking an interest in economics that I did not know I had. So many people in high school and then later in college tell me that they hate economics. I enjoyed it. I enjoyed the technicalities and the theory of it. And that seminar was the start of that interest in economics.

(For full disclosure, I am not in any way an economics expert. But, economics is not really the point of this post.)

At that economics seminar, I met and chatted with the staff members and several of the speakers. At only fifteen years of age, I spoke to adults rather well and held decent conversations with them. In addition, I asked questions after every lecture, took notes, showed interest, and behaved.

On Monday, almost exactly three and a half years later, I interviewed with one of the speakers I talked with at that seminar. He is now the Founder and CEO of a 10-month program to train young entrepreneurs.

And guess what?
This meme has nothing to do with the post.
I just thought it was funny (:
Image found here.

He remembered who I was. He remembered that I stuck out as a "top participant" at that seminar. And now I have an offer from his company to join their 10 month program.

I am not trying to assert that the fifteen year old version of me was good enough to handle the interview questions, application process, or the program that I have now been extended an offer to take part in. But, I will assert that my interview did not start on Monday. Rather, it started three and a half years ago. I met this speaker in Colorado in 2010, have not met or talked with him since then, and we recently Skype interviewed from two separate states. How incredible is that?

Now, think about the same scenario if I had been awkward in talking with adults, broken the rules at the seminar, and showed little to no interest in the lectures. Maybe, just maybe, it would not have affected my interview negatively. But maybe, just maybe, he would not have remembered me at all. Most of the students at the seminar showed little to no interest. They faded into the background. They did not stick out as a "top participant". This man I interviewed with probably does not remember all 60 of us, especially the ones who did not care.

This post is for everyone, but especially young people. Realize that you never know how the people you meet now might influence your life later. Always be out to make your best impression. Who knows? It could be your fifteen year old self that makes the first impression in an important relationship.


  1. Great stuff. This could easily double as an important lesson in networking. It's not what you know, it's who you know!