I’m going back to my old school on the 17th of December to give a short talk at their presentation evening.
They’ve asked me as someone who works in the field of technology (they’re (now) a specialist technology college) to award some prizes – some brief handshake, a smile and a word or two of congratulation – and then make a ten minute speech. It should include my recollections of my time at the school, what I gained from it, what I did at university and what I’ve worked on since, at IBM and the BBC. And then “finally and most importantly – some words of encouragement and advice to the students”.
The factual stuff is easy, but the encouragement and advice?
I started thinking about what the 15 year old me would think of the 30 year old me. He was born in 1993, while I was born in 1978. That’s the seventies. Oh wow, he thinks I’m really old. He thinks I’m set in my ways and comfortable. He probably thinks I’m incredibly boring. He either thinks I’m totally disconnected from his life or (worse) trying too hard to be cool by talking about instant messaging and the web.
I’ve changed quite a bit in the last 15 years, but have I learned anything? And if I have, what can I tell the 15 year old me about it? And would he even listen anyway?
I think I want the 15 year old me to know that it’s OK to seek out whatever you find fun and interesting. It’s OK not to have a plan. And most of all, not to ever, ever listen to anyone who says you have too much time on your hands if you’re doing something you love.
What would you want the 15 year-old you to know?
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