The most important lesson I learned in university happened on my very first day in my very first course. I remember sitting in the “snake pit” of the Braun building trying to appear cool with some 300 other freshmen as we awaited our prof. Enter Dr. Ernest Zimmerman, a large burly man with a grey beard and suspenders. The large stack of books he carried under one arm came slamming down on his podium and silence quickly filled the room. He studied us through his wire rimmed glasses for what seemed like an eternity and then he finally spoke. “I bet you’re all nervous,” he said, as his slowly shook his head. You could literally hear a pin drop. “That’s good,” he continued, “It means you care.. and I’m nervous too.”
Those simple words changed my mindset and gave me a new perspective. Often before any event where I felt my nerves getting the best of me I’d remind myself that it simply meant I cared and the funny thing is, I felt less nervous!
I have shared this story countless times. I tell it to my students on every first day of school and often before my students do their first presentation or participate in important sporting events. Thank you Dr. Zimmerman for sharing your human side with your students and straying from your texts, notes and lectures. In my experience, most often the best lessons aren’t found within the pages a textbook.
You have made a difference in the lives of more students than you’ll ever know.
Coming tomorrow… “Introducing Wonder.”