Back to School

Mar 11, 2016

BY JIMMY EGELAND – CREATIVE DIRECTOR

A lifelong friend of mine teaches a Principles of Information Technology class at a local high school and asked me to talk with his students about my real-world working experience. While I’m no IT professional, I jumped at the chance, as I’ve always loved talking with kids and young adults about my experiences and their futures.

I can still vividly remember what it was like to be in high school, making that slow transition into adulthood, and stepping inside the building only amplified those emotions. I have awesome parents who always gave me great advice, but I never had that third party adult resource that talked to me about my future without a “my-child-is-the-best” undertone. As I walked through the halls it became my goal to be that resource for the class.

Once I entered the classroom, I quickly realized these high school students had no filter. It was awesome. After I gave a semi-formal presentation, I spent nearly half an hour answering everything from “how much money do you make?” to “where do you see yourself in ten years?” We even had an open discussion on the ethics behind acquiring and utilizing customer data. I tried my best to engage the entire class, incentivizing them by offering them my business card (big deal) if they asked a question. After it was all said and done, more than half the class walked out with a card. No small feat considering I was working with a group of teenagers at 8:30 in the morning.

As much as I may or may not have helped them, talking with students has always energized me. I’ve spoken at least a half dozen times with small groups of college students who would visit my previous place of business on school-sponsored trips. Out of each group, I’d usually hook one or two and they’d send me thank you emails or connect on LinkedIn. Simply talking with the group made it a worthwhile experience for me, but seeing the seldom few make a smart networking move was an added bonus.

But those were college students. I shouldn’t expect the same thing from these high school students I visited, right? Much to my surprise, two of them actually had the maturity and foresight to send me a “thank you” email the same day I met with them.

Now that I think about it, I should probably be the one thanking the students. They were attentive, engaged, left me feeling invigorated, and above all, didn’t greet me like this. So, thank you Mr. Hodges’ Principles of Information Technology class. I had a great time.