Growing up, I had a lot of older mentors. All of my siblings (at the time) were older than me. All of my friends were older. I myself was older than most of the people in my class were. As I watched one of these mentors go through college, he constantly came home saying, “I wish people realized that no one cares about their past!”
He didn’t mean their background, or their childhood, or anything like that. He meant their high school reputation. He was annoyed with going on dates with girls who would go on and on about how popular they were in high school, despite being close to getting their degree.
For me…that’s hard to imagine. Maybe UCLA is full of people who acknowledge we were all amazing in high school. Maybe I’m not dating those types of people. But outside of popularity, we can’t get over high school, and I wonder how bad that is.
This comes because tonight (April 23) I’m going back to a warm memory from high school. Long Beach had just created a new award. It was going to be the Emerging Youth Leader Award, for someone who “demonstrated ethical leadership in their sphere of influence, involvement in local community issues, and strong communication skills” and I received it in 2009. The award had already existed, but this is the first time they were going to give it to a young person. I was so honored. My dad actually showed up. I felt like a moral celebrity, which was weird, but fun.
In finding me on LinkedIn, one of the award coordinators excitedly emailed me. Shortly after we caught up, she asked me to come to their reception at a nice restaurant tonight, because “It would be great to have an Emerging Leader Award Recipient and get an update in person.”
Of course, I’m beyond stoked. I was so absolutely stunned and excited when I got the actual award. I felt like my silent efforts were suddenly shouted on mountaintops. But should I forget that? My past pulled me back tonight, and I’m super stoked about it. I learned so much in high school, and that’s okay.
I learned my job at Wetzel’s Pretzels in a matter of days. Everyone was so stunned, since most of my coworkers didn’t learn each restaurant (working at Wetzel’s is actually working at Rx, Wetzel’s Relaxtation and Greenhouse in Ackerman) until about 3-4 weeks in. I recently read my employee review, and the same thing was recorded on it. When I got tested on sanitary precaution, I passed with flying colors. I told them I had managed my old student store, so of course I knew the standards. He replied, “No one cares about your past, Mandy.”