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As I entered my freshman year at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, I had a mission. That mission was to find the best weed (marijuana, Mary Jane, smoke, sticky bud, pot) and smoke it! I had decided that since I was never going to be the smartest kid in the room, I might as well be the highest. My search took me about 20 feet away from my dorm room where I found “Crazy Larry and his room full of pot. For the first quarter, I smoked more pot than the rest of the university combined. As I entered my second quarter I had a new mission, try and improve my 2.2 GPA that I earned the first quarter while still remaining as high as possible. The stoner persona was really working for me and I had carved out a niche as the real skinny stoned kid. During the second quarter, I had the fortune of taking a class by Mrs. Hunt. I don’t know Mrs. Hunt’s first name, only that I called her Mrs. Hunt. Mrs. Hunt taught English 104 and as I looked around the room the first week I was amazed at the quality of the kids in this class. These guys were smart. Not just average smart, it was like I was in the nerd kingdom. I’m sure they were thinking, who let the skinny stoned kid in?
My thought at the time was that I was smart, but not book smart. My 2.2 GPA reinforced that fact and so I was just trying to get the work done to secure maybe a 2.5 GPA. About midway through the course Mrs. Hunt asked that we dissect a poem. There were no restrictions as to the type of poem and since I was high, I picked Pink Floyd’s “Welcome to the Machine”. I spent hours researching this “poem”. This was before Goggle and thus I had to actually travel to the library. This was the first time in my life that I had really dived into a project. High School bored me, but this got my juices flowing. From that point on, I took a much more aggressive approach with not just Mrs. Hunt’s class, but all my classes. At the end of the quarter, Mrs. Hunt approached me and said, “Andy, you are the smartest kid in this class, but you try and act you are the dumbest. Start acting smart”. It felt like someone hit me in the face. Smart? Me? Are you serious? That quarter I pulled 2 A’s and 1 C. That was a 3.5 GPA (I think) and I never again got another C my whole college career. I even attended Graduate school where I pulled a 3.3 GPA.
So, why am I putting this in my corporate blog? It’s very important to understand that we touch many people each day. Mrs. Hunt changed my life with those few words. After that day, my pot consumption decreased 10 fold; I no longer was the skinny stoned kid, simply the skinny kid that used to be stoned all the time. I grabbed a job on campus, began making new friends, and began really enjoying my college experience. My college career prepared me for an amazing life as a CEO of a successful small business and leader within my community. I’m now a partner in a new firm that has seen my role move from that of CEO to COO. I still look back fondly on that first quarter at Ball State and thank Mrs. Hunt every day for stopping to tell the skinny, stoned kid…he wasn’t so dumb after all.
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