Around noon yesterday I strolled into my FORTRAN class and delightfully plopped into the office chair in front of a computer terminal. I was fresh off the high of receiving an "A" on my first of three chemistry exams, so my morning was off to a good start.
As I always do, I opened up my FIT "Squirrel Mail" account to check on the daily happenings around campus while waiting for my professor to begin his lecture. Before my eyes was a message with the simple subject "greetings."
When I saw the name of the message sender, I gasped. I let out a stifled "Oh my gosh!" Trying to remain somewhat quiet and controlled while other students worked around me was nearly impossible. I pumped my fist and inadvertently slammed my knee against the side of the desk I shared with another terminal. The monitors rocked, and the guy across from me glanced up. I didn't care. Opening the message, my eyes devoured the text before me:
"Lauren tells me that you are majoring in meteorology and hope to work at the National Hurricane Center one day. I think that's great. We still have room for a lot of improvement in hurricane forecasting and need all the help we can get...."
The message went on much further; it was long! I didn't expect this type of extended response.
The former director of the National Hurricane Center, a man who had been a household name during the hurricane seasons of 2004 and 2005, a man whom I have idolized since I began closely studying hurricanes when I was 12, has sent me a personal email!
He went on to tell a story of a young high schooler who came to visit the NHC about 10 years ago, and said he would some day work for the Center. I immediately recognized the name as one of the newest Hurricane Specialists at the NHC, Eric Blake. His story is very much like mine. It struck a chord.
"...I wish you the best in your pursuit of meteorology. Give my friend George Maul my regards at FIT when you run into him.
Looks like Mr. Mayfield is friends with my department head, too. I love the connections that college has suddenly given me!
I jokingly told my roommate, JJ, that I was going to enlarge the text to poster size, frame it, and hang it on my wall...It was a joke...But now I wonder about actually doing it...
I owe my sister many thanks for getting this to happen. A student in the bible study group that my sister leads is friends with Mr. Mayfield's daughter. My sister spoke to her about my interest in meteorology, and the rest is history!
There's few things more exciting than getting an email from a professional that you look up to. And, yes, I would rather meet Max Mayfield than any movie or tv celebrity that ever lived. Weird? As I've always said, I kind of like being "weird." :-D