This touching birthday note shows why I teach

July 26, 2016 by Joshua
in Education, Entrepreneurship

I can’t tell you how honored and flattered I feel from the following message a former student sent me on my birthday. She took my class in her first semester in school, just months after finishing high school, and got her project running before the semester ended, still working with the partnership with the company she started forming that semester.

Dear Josh,

I would like to wish the most inspiring, hard-working, talented, and generous professor, friend, entrepreneur, and NYC marathon/world burpee champ the happiest and most wonderful of birthdays today.

Your guidance and mentorship have meant so much to me over the last almost-three (I can’t believe it’s been that long, either!) years of my time at NYU. Anytime I email you–to update you on my life, to ask a question, or to seek out your somehow always perfect and fitting advice–you always impart me with your pearls of wisdom and invaluable support.

I’m so glad I decided, one day during freshman year, to give a course called Fundamentals of Social Entrepreneurship a whirl. Without hyperbole or obsequious reflection, your class and teaching style changed the way I view the world and myself. It pushed me outside of my comfort zone. It made me really, for the first time, consider that I could work toward my aspiration of becoming an entrepreneur and launching my own venture. Today, looking back on your course–the first one I ever took at NYU in entrepreneurship–I can honestly say it was a life-changing experience, both personally, academically, and professionally and, for that, I will forever owe you a debt of gratitude.

I hope, today, that you realize how many students’ career and personal trajectories you’ve left an indelible imprint on. You’re truly a one-of-a-kind professor and mentor and all-around incredible person. I hope all of your birthday wishes come true and you have a wonderfully special day because you are amazing.

Looking forward to many many more years of the latest SIDCHA advice, entrepreneurial guidance, and opportunities to be graced by your inspirational presence as you transform me from an Oreo-eating-cookie-munching-loyalist to a newly crowned pressure cooker master who has just discovered the world of Community Supported Agriculture.

With much gratitude and hoping you have as much success in the coming year as in your last,

[her name]

Feedback like this is why I teach. I already thanked her and asked her permission to post, but I’ll thank her here again: thank you!

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