The Fearless Wisdom of Guest Speaker Stu McGowan

When Stu McGowan walked into our classroom with his dyed yellow hair, relaxed attire, and tattoos I was not sure what to think. I had never heard of him before but he is the owner of Shoeless Management/Construction. He is the man in charge of taking houses in the Old North End (O.N.E.) of Burlington, Vermont and transforming them. What came out of his mouth for the next hour and fifteen minutes astounded me. Despite Stu’s first impression, the insights that he offered myself and other students were born of experience.


Stu McGowan himself, clearly being fearless.

Stu himself took an unconventional route to his current state of success. Whether it was the fact that he openly admits to knocking up his college professor or the fact that he took several years off while his wife provided for his family, Stu’s journey is inspirational. He triumphed through not being “normal”. But then again is there really any such thing as being normal? Stu began in film, then took years off while he worked to establish his current real estate business, a really successful real estate business in fact.

Unlike most speakers that have graced our class with their presence, Stu was there to not only talk but listen as well. He asked each of us, what we are currently doing or planning. Many times as a young professional I have been asked, “What are you doing after graduation?” It is a question that I used to dread answering, but Stu changed that. He didn’t try to tell us what we should be doing; he tried to give us encouragement in doing what we currently are doing.

Then he told us, that we shouldn’t be afraid. Not being afraid was the one sentiment that resonated with me the most. Thinking about it, fear is the only factor holding me back from doing what I really want to do with my life. I am scared of going off into the world after graduation, I am scared of not liking my current chosen profession, I am scared that I will not have enough money, I am scared that I will regret my current decisions and that I will miss out on chances I could have otherwise taken.

So as I go about the last month of my college career I am debating whether or not to be fearless. To go after my wildest dreams uninhibited or to not, that is the question that lingers in my mind. What will it be?


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