Thursday, March 8, 2012

Most rewarding comment of the month, by a former student

As I mentioned in my last post, last night I went to have a dinner and a beer with a former student, to catch up on how he is doing. As a rule of thumb, I always pay when I have lunch with students. In the past, I've been paid many meals by professors or successful professionals, and I never questioned that. For me, it is a question of who can afford it better. I don't mind people paying for my meal if they much more money than I do, and I will always pay the bill if I invite somebody I know his/her income is very limited. If we are at the same level, then we split.

So last night, I went out and had a sandwich and two beers with my former student. Very low-key. When the bill came, I grabbed it and said: "I always pay for my students' meals. When you are the next CEO of your company, you can pay for mine". He replied: "SP (well, at this point he calls me by my first name), I run into you when I had no idea of what I was doing in life, and thanks to your guidance, you got me a degree. Let me at least get a dinner for you in return". That was the most beautiful thing a student has ever told me. I smiled, I said "You have a point", and handled him the bill. He was happy, and so was I.

3 comments:

  1. "As a rule of thumb, I always pay when I have lunch with students. In the past, I've been paid many meals by professors or successful professionals, and I never questioned that."

    - I also do it this way. My profs paid for me and now it's my time to pay for students. It's like a professional code, which I really dig.

    It's really fantastic that you have changed a student's life in this way. That's so rewarding.

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  2. How lovely! and how rare for a former student to be so good at articulating his gratitude!

    I agree completely about what Clarissa calls The Code. Although i might note that my grad school advisor always seemed to "forget" her wallet.

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  3. Your grad school advisor reminds me of a very famous (full-professor, endowed chair and the whole nine yards) person in my field. I went out for lunch with him when he was visiting my city, and when the check came, and the waiter left it at equal distance of both of us, he just push it my way. I would have paid anyway, as a courtesy "my city, my treat" kind of behavior, but I was appalled. Later, I found out he is famous for this kind of behavior.

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