Advice to My 21-year-old Self, by Ed Gschneidner


Ed gives advice to his 21-year old self

1. When you were 21 years old, where were you living and what were you doing?

I was living in a fraternity and going to college at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa.  I was taking courses in the architecture program studying to become an architect.  At the same time I was involved in the fraternity, working part-time at a grocery store in the produce department, and spending most of my free time convincing my future wife to join me for pizza and beer

2. What did you worry about–what was that one thing that you feared the most?

That period of time saw unemployment and economic activity reminiscent of our current circumstances in 2010 and 2011.  Many of the architectural graduates I knew were working bagging groceries and were not able to find positions with architectural firms.

3. What did you hope the future held for you?

I hoped that upon graduation from college that I could find meaningful work in my chosen field and that I would be facing life’s challenges with my then fiancé Martha.

4. How did you define what it meant to be a man?

I can honestly say that I never gave being a man any thought – it was just part of my “being”.  I’m sure that a lot that being was based on whatever I learned from living with my own father and the fathers of my friends and neighbors.  From my father I think I absorbed the importance of hard work, education and knowledge, and respect for other people without reservation.

5. What advice do you give today to that young man of yesterday?

Life is not a passive activity, get engaged, have a take, and try to make things happen – these are still things that I struggle with in life today.