What I learned from my good friend Dr Lou Harvey

I’d like to tell you about Lou. Think of the loveliest, most positive, polite, considerate, understanding listener you have ever met. Multiply that by a trillion. Yep, that’s her.

Manchester University sends out a weekly email with research volunteering opportunities to its students. Being a standard broke college student, I was browsing it for ways to make quick cash. By then, it was a routine thing for me — I’ve been monitored in my sleep, asked to drink a WHOLE lot of funny tasting “energy drinks” and solved more logic-based computer games than I can count, but that’s another note and frankly, not what this one is about.

It’s about Lou, whose ad in one of these weekly emails asked for volunteers for a language study, which paid absolutely zero pounds sterling. It was interesting to me because at the time I spoke 5 languages, and she seemed like a good person. So I signed on. Little did I know what was to come next.

Over the next year, Lou and I met, and recorded the story of my life, and my journey halfway across the world, experiences with cultures, languages and people. She became a counsellor, a mentor, a confidante and most importantly, a friend with whom each conversation matured me as a person. I owe her my inner confidence, which has enabled me to enter the worlds of finance and technology.

Importantly, this was all for her PhD project, which of course she was able to put together and pass with flying colours. In fact, she has earned herself a Doctorate with not a single correction — an incredible achievement in my view. However, her examiners apparently didn’t want to let her work gather dust in libraries, so now she’s working with two different theatre groups for an adaptation.

They’re making an actual play about my life — how cool is that!

All because I decided to be nice to a lovely lady called Dr Lou. By the way, today is her birthday, and I wish her and her family all the very best in life. You should too, because she’s a super nice, hard-working mother and the world always needs more good people.

I’ve learned a few things from this episode of my life, and they go something like this:

#1 Be positive and honest.

#2 Hang out with the best people.

#3 Do cool stuff that your gut tells you to do.

Fortune and fame will simply take care of themselves.

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