Give, and You Shall Receive
Charles (Chuck) C. Coutant
In the winter of 1958–1959, I was a junior-class student stuck in routine undergraduate biology courses when what I really liked was being outdoors poking around for critters in streams, lakes, and ponds. That was something I did in most of my spare time as a kid. A college major in biology would supposedly let me do similar things for some sort of career. Most of my classmates were pre-med, and I sometimes went along with that to justify my biology major. But it was not what I really wanted. When I learned that my genetics professor was doing consulting work in lake and pond field studies, I mustered my naïve enthusiasm for a talk with him about field biology. A career was launched!
Also launched was a life-long appreciation that an enthusiastic and interested student is a magnet for good mentors. We are truly students all our lives, not just as academic students. When you have and show a genuine interest in what others are doing, those expressions will be reciprocated by an interest in you. We have all heard the well-known adage “smile and the world smiles with you; frown and you frown alone.” Those who reach out to others, showing interest and enthusiasm, however naïve, will attract helpful mentors and collaborators, whereas those who do not will likely go it alone and miss out on many career opportunities. Give enthusiasm and interest and you are apt to receive it in return.