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Monday, September 26, 2011

I've become that old dude who punched me in gut in 1997

I opened my e-mail inbox today and my heart broke, in two pieces. College students email me all the time and I try to help them out as much as possible. When I was a Johnson C. Smith University student, I was surrounded by helpful professors and professionals like Herb White from The Charlotte Post, Cliff Harrington from The Charlotte Observer, Jeri Young--also from the Post and the second reader of my senior paper, and I can't forget about the best professor ever, Ms. Cassandra Wynn.

Ms. Wynn had a rule, she only sent students out into the real world who proved themselves in class. That meant writing well, meeting deadlines and attending class regularly. I don't know what's going on with today's students.

So, the email that inspired this rant was filled with misspellings (but you want to be a writer) and the student didn't tell me anything other than, I don't have a car. I don't even know what school this child attends. And, here's what really gave me pause, the student listed, and I mean listed a bunch of jobs that the student wanted help with. Many of them are outside of what I do. So, this child didn't do a brief Google search on me?

I didn't ignore the child, I did what was done to me once, I gave the student some tough love. I just hope it doesn't come off as mean as my first brush with tough love was. I still remember the editor at the Howard Job Fair who said to me: "You write boring. You wouldn't even be in contention for a summer internship at my paper."

Yep. That was in 1997. I would post his name, because I remember that too. In 1997, I was PISSED at him. I wanted to slap that old man. But I knew how to get my revenge; write better. I worked at it, worked hard. My professors and my internship editors noticed it. And guess what, I got a job in the same newspaper chain that editor worked for.
I hope my e-mail to this student is met with a can-do attitude rather than a "who the f*ck does she think she is?" attitude.

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