A.M. Conversations


A couple weeks ago, I made a morning pit stop at a local coffee shop on my way into the office. Ever the chatterbox, I had a brief conversation with the shop’s barista. I found out I had coached her in the local rec soccer program, lo those many years ago. My inspirational pep talks must not have left much of an impression, because her reply to the soccer connection was “No way!”

I correctly guessed she was a recent high school grad, and “What’s next?” turned out to be “Going to UW-Madison in a couple of weeks”, followed by “I’m scared”. She got a reassuring, “You’ll do just fine.”

A second stop at the coffee shop a few days later was slightly earlier in the morning, around 5:50 a.m. For some, that hour is the middle of the night as sunrise is past 6:00 and moving closer to 6:30. For me, this time of day is akin to ‘the early bird gets the economic development worm’. The coffee shop opens at 5:30 and the same barista mentioned she’s up in the morning with her dad. I said something along the lines of “High achievers are up at this hour.”

This time, my reference to Madison was met with, “I’m excited.” Things had changed. She was ready. Perhaps it’s the fickle nature of an 18-year old, or maybe it was her recognition that something new and important is out there and it was time to find it.

Here’s to the incoming and returning students at colleges, universities, and technical colleges. Have some fun. Meet new friends. Study once in a while. Find it.