Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Advising and Skiing

    Recently I have been having a lot of communications from my student advisees.   As a part of giving back to Cornell and my department I have been a volunteer adviser to about a dozen students for the last several years.   It is an enjoyable and I hope useful service to the students.   I first advised college students in my initial appointment as Assistant Professor in 1958.   Now that I am a geezer I can claim over 50 years of advising young people.   An extremely rewarding activity  where I now have alumni  friends throughout the world who on occasion thank me for the guidance I have given.
    How does this connect with skiing?   Most of the time I am able to assist my advisees with e-mail and phone calls.  However, nothing works better than face to face meetings in dealing with the knottier problems.   Also the initial relationship needs to be built with one on one conversations in my office.   This week I will need to forego some of my skiing time to meet with my students.   I am grateful for their flexibility so that we can schedule our meetings around my passion for hitting the slopes.   So Friday I am looking forward to a shortened ski day (or perhaps no skiing at all) to connect with a couple of new advisees and some continuing students.   The amazing thing about advancing age is that one gains a greater appreciation of the value of relationships.   Frequently acts of service are so rewarding that it really isn't any sacrifice at all.   I say hurray for all the young people who still have respect for the "wisdom" of their elders.

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