I've been in contact with Frances, one of my design teachers from UB. It began as the basic Facebook-style reconnect, but since then we've actually had some interesting conversations via e-mail, and thanks to her recommendation I'm doing some design work for a start-up project she's involved with in New York City. Frances and I have been corresponding for a few months now, but it's still a bit surreal. The first shock was that she remembered me at all after 20+ years, as I wasn't exactly a standout student (though I probably showed occasional flashes of potential that were no doubt incredibly frustrating to my teachers). But Frances remembered me right away. The second oddity is the way she treats me as an equal, which makes perfect sense on paper (I'm no longer her student and we're probably only a couple of years apart in age) but still feels odd in practice. Frances taught 2-D Design my first year at UB, an amazing, confusing time in my life that I can barely remember even though it sometimes feels like yesterday. I did well in her class that first semester, but by the second semester new friends and outside interests took their toll on my schoolwork and my grades. Apparently Frances has graciously chosen to forget that second semester, and working with her again after all these years has been a real treat. Her criticism is constructive and always spot-on, and her praise has been great for my confidence. The other day she surprised me with a scan of some work I had done in her class. It was a strange feeling to look at that creation of my long-ago self. I didn't recognize it at all, and in fact for a long time I was convinced she'd made a mistake and sent me some other student's work. I decided to let it be a lesson, and gave myself permission to be creative and daring and not restrict myself to choices my future self would recognize as "typical John". Let's keep him guessing.

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