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Sunday, March 19, 2006

Familiar reflection

Standing at the computer console in my 8th floor classroom, I had arrived my usual 30 minutes before class was to start. It's a good thing, since this time I had a wonderful distraction

A familiar face from my International Marketing class popped into my classroom unexpectedly.

"Joyce!," I blurted out, with a decidedly stunned voice. I just couldn't believe that one of my students from Dec had found me on Saturday afternoon and wanted to talk with me. Grinning from ear to ear—she has a delightful, contagious smile—she asked me if I would review her resume since she was trying to get a head start for the summer internships opportunities.

A bilingual International Trade major who has a tremendous work ethic, focus and ability for prodigious work output, I remembered her with fondness. My only response could be: "Of course!" We stood as I reviewed her two page resume together. Here and there I made suggestions; she listened carefully to my words. As we progressed line item by line item I thought to myself, for a Junior she has already accumulated a noteworthy list of accomplishments and experience. She had a definite direction. Were I in the market, I would certainly scoop her up.

As the time for class neared, she asked if I would be available later to answer other questions she had. I told her about my 5:00 – 6:00 dinner break between my two three hour classes and that I stay in the classroom, so stop by.

She arrived right at 5:05 and we sat down in the wooden school desks—my Western leg length presents some challenges sitting in these contraptions. Equipped with a list of companies she had compiled, we proceeded to review each one of the American companies with offices in Shanghai over the next 45 minutes. She had done her homework. Joyce could talk about each one, why she was interested in specific ones, why others she was unsure. Then she proceeded to detail the different ways she would adjust her resume to apply for specific openings. Clearly, she knew which direction to go, but was seeking validation on some decisions she had reached. I was happy to ask the questions needed for her to determine this for herself.

As we discussed this list I heard her determination. Focus. She was totally committed to land an internship this summer and then a job next year upon graduation. She had purpose and drive.

Leaning back into the hard wooden seat I gazed into her sparkling, effervescent youthful eyes. It's then it hit me.

I was looking into a mirror. She reminded me of me at her age. With this realization I gained yet another revelation from teaching here in China. Asian and Western: we have more similarities than differences.


At 7:10 AM, Lorraine said...

It really does come down to that, doesn't it? We DO have more similarities than differences. I concur.

At 1:21 PM, Skip said...

Did she have any suits her Mom made her? Skip and Cody


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