What can a hat teach you?

Teachers, much like hats, come in all shapes and sizes. I have had the good fortune of encountering many excellent teachers through out my years of schooling. Each step of my educational journey has been highlighted by a string of distinct characters, beginning in elementary school with a thin, excitable kindergarden teacher, continuing to the present with my loud, towering Business Law professor and a round, jolly, unforgettable Accounting professor. Teachers like these have helped teach me how to function in the world and how to be a more structured thinker.

Despite the gratitude I hold to my group of school teachers, many of the most impactful lessons I’ve learned have actually come from people without graduate degrees, people who do not call themselves teachers. Some of my biggest lessons have come from my mentors and my business partners who I have met on my journey to adulthood. These people are down to earth, knowledgable, and, most peculiarly, they tend to wear awesome hats–It’s true!

The fact that they wear hats may be a coincidence, but in doing so they all convey a common lesson. It’s done as a statement of their individuality. Being a great educator is about delivering a message and being memorable. Those things are accomplished by moving beyond the basics of reciting facts and by taking measures to create an experience that resonates deeply with the learner. It doesn’t have to be high-tech, and it doesn’t have to be hard either. It just has to be enough to make the observer ask questions, and to give them reason to remember it. Ultimately, it is about creating a human connection. And that idea is easily lost in this transition to digital learning. We mustn’t forget the importance of crafting the learner’s experience, because without the ability to establish a human connection there is no education. To commit to the future of eduction we should all explore our own awesome hats, finding new ways to make knowledge interesting, and to resonate in the minds of tomorrow.

As a final, closing inspiration I present you now with a short but sweet list of my hat wearing heros:

Two of my most admirable life mentors. From them I have learned deep lessons on psychology and finance, Pictured above they are setting the mood at a seminar, breaking the ice for all the first-timers.

My friend and business partner. A completely anonymous individual who has taught me much about patience, ambition, and commitment.

A trio of student business owners, presenting at a local entrepreneurship event. This group, which I am a part of, empowers students to take their personal and professional development into their own hands, and promotes the benefits of business ownership. I’m the gentleman featured on the left with the big smile and the inconspicuous blue top-hat, a tribute to all the awesome hat wearers in my life.

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Student Escape

Landis Green

College, the time when students dive headfirst into student loans, wild parties, and late night cramming. On the opposite end of the spectrum, I am was one of those students who always tried to do everything else but school. Weekends were my days off from school, and so were weekdays. I found that it was important to escape not only the campus life, but the city life in order to deal with the stress of school.

I tried doing all the things students usually do: Party, Tailgate football games, etc…  I fit perfectly into the role of a Nole, at Florida State University. I will admit that on occasion I ended up enjoying the fictitious rivalry between schools and the sport games, but soon enough that gets old and repetitive. So I found myself a more enjoyable hobby exploring places.

Location Location location, doesn’t matter:

My experience in College was great from a artificial point of view: I got excellent grades and I made good friends. But from a realistic point of view I was desperate to get as far away from it as possible. Exploring any other location far from my classes had soon become my hobby in between classes.

FSU Reservation

FSU Reservation

I initially explored only on campus. I started in what seemed to me at the time the center of the school, Landis Green. I almost immediately started heading uphill in an effort to spot from up top good locations, so I went up to the parking lot. I marked locations in every direction on my handy dandy campus map, and set out exploring. Off the bat the campus was very monotonous. Every building looked the same, and half of the people I ran into were obnoxious Jersey Shore types that made the act of enjoying a scenery feel like I was sitting on the couch watching E Television.  I was actively walking back and forth looking at different things, and that in itself was what was relaxing. Soon enough I found out that it doesn’t really matter where you go, as long as you go somewhere that is different.

My favorite locations included but weren’t limited to:

  • Parks
  • Housing Complexes
  • Downtown
  • Random Hallways
  • Rooftops

EXPLORE EXPLORE EXPLORE.

Francis Wayles Eppes

Francis Wayles Eppes

Always keep your mind open to exploration. For me, Tallahassee is a beautiful place with a lot of hidden gems. There is the FSU Re(z)servation for kayaking and rockwall climbing, and Apalachicola National Forest is right around the corner if you like hikes. You can get more information about the reservation by visiting FSU’s campusrec website, which also gives you more information on recreational activities around town. The key to this is to keep your mind moving by exposing yourself to new things. Some people like exploring new restaurants, new clothes, new shoes. I like new places.

The goal is to always keep yourself focusing on other things not related to whatever is causing stress in College. Now find something you like, and go out and explore! That is my student escape, what is yours? Leave comments below and share what works for you in relieving stress.