I spent the day shopping yesterday with two of my beloved former advisees, Jena and April. Both graduated in May, and I haven't seen either since. We had a great time, former teacher and students -- it felt more like Mom and daughters day (or girlfriend shopping day). I loved it and it was refreshing! What fine young woman they both are!
Jena met me at 8:30 and we ventured to the Morningside Curb Market, which is a haven for those who want fresh, local, organic food. After purchasing a bunch of spicy lemon basil, organic ground speckled grits, and three pounds of organic grain-fed beef, tasting Swiss chocolate, and sampling cheese and limonata, we did the Lenox "Mall Crawl." April joined us at Crate and Barrel, then we visited Anthropologie, Pottery Barn, Teavana, and the mothership, Williams-Sonoma. After sushi and wedge salads for lunch, we all went to the mother of all Whole Foods markets in Buckhead.
But early Saturday morning, when I was in the Swiss chocolate place at Morningside with Jena, I felt in some small way, my work is worth something. I felt redeemed. Jena is a marketing assistant at a large, powerful Atlanta law firm -- "the firm," as she calls it --and she worked like hell to get there. She held two internships there and joined them immediately -- two days even -- after her last class ended. (n.b. April, don't feel left out on this one. I am enormously proud of you! You know that!)
But while purchasing some delectable chocolate -- and it was, I'm telling you, it was -- I saw something every teacher loves: I saw my student in action.
Jena entered into a serious discussion of corporate holiday gifts with the store owner, discussing shipping, handling, turnaround time, and base cost. My memory went back to our PR class when she was admin of senior and alumni luncheon. She got a shipping list, exchanged business cards, and graciously oohed over a champagne truffle. Then she offered the owner a firm handshake, and he agreed to bring a chocolate sampling to "the firm" if she'd like.
I almost wept. Not that I was surprised, for I wasn't. Jena always showed -- shows -- great finesse in life. But I remembered the day she tried to make anagrams out of Brandenburg v. Ohio on her law test before frankly admitting she didn't know the answer, but thought I needed a laugh.
Nothing warms the heart of this college professor more than seeing a former student in action. I don't know if I taught her any of it, but I am proud to say her presence graced my classroom. I learned from her. Like others before, and others still to come, she "does me proud." So, so proud.
Much love and pride,