During my undergraduate years- I never studied, unless staring at notes on the way to class before an exam counts. I occasionally did homework- usually only if required for the course grade. I abused the amazing gift of a free undergraduate education afforded me by the state of Florida and probably disappointed many who believed in my potential to be a successful engineer or skilled lawyer. I went to an institution with many scholars, libraries and thousands of intellectually stimulating opportunities. How many did I take advantage of? How many professors would remember my name? Maybe one if I were lucky- and only because I took four classes from him and routinely visited his office to argue.
Now, somehow, I'm in grad school, studying business and statistics, two subjects I would have never predicted a later me having an interest in. I'm passionate about both, almost obsessed. I got to this point by realizing my ignorance in relation to everything I do day to day at work. I have "expertise" in areas where I lack the underlying, detailed understanding required to take it to the next level. I can't in good faith continue to move forward in my career with only a surface expertise in everything I do.
So here I am, studying almost every minute I'm not at work, pondering and processing what I studied the next morning as I drive to work. What if I had possessed this sort of drive while in my undergraduate years at Florida? Perhaps I was too young- a 17 year old, mostly naive junior from a town of 6000 people amongst a diverse student body of 40,000? Or perhaps I simply found my path a different way.
As cocky as I am, corporate America has instilled a certain humility that I think is driving my new approach and love of education. I must learn every day to be successful. I must listen to those both below and above me with equal measure. I must take each players agenda and motivation into account when making suggestions or decisions. To be cliche, as I learn something new each day, I become acutely more aware of how little I know. This self awareness of ignorance makes me open to formal education, hence I am where I am right now- studying, making myself care about cash flow statements, bimodal analysis, and due care. One day, while not a successful engineer or skilled lawyer, I do want to be relied upon as an expert in my field and a talented manager and leader.