I remember it very clearly, the day I got into graduate school. I was taking the undergraduate advanced compiler construction course at UC Irvine with Professor Michael Franz. After a whole bunch of personal issues that quarter, I summed up the courage to ask Michael Franz, "Can I do research with you in Summer?". Michael replied, "What did you get in my beginning compiler construction course?". Me: "B". Not the best way to impress a professor you want to do research with. Luckily, Michael Franz took a chance on me, said sure, and after five years, I successfully received a PhD under his mentorship.
At the moment, I'm helping my girlfriend jump start her career, and it's so painfully difficult to watch her struggle. She wasn't lucky enough to be exposed to the same opportunities I had, nor have the same nurturing environment while she grew up. Just sitting besides her, as we struggle through each interview, each rejection, every new job application, is a painful reminder of not only how lucky I am, but also the lucky break I got because someone took a chance on me. And now finally someone gave her a break.
There's not really a greater point to this blog post, other than try to remember who took a chance on you. Say thanks to them and pay it back when you can. And it keeps me honest by remembering to pay it forward and to take a chance on those who are on their way to better things