April 27, 2012
Senior reflects on leadership, mentor, and the path aheadSometimes we are forced to scratch our heads and wonder, "What has changed?"
From as early as I can remember, I looked toward the future with unrestricted optimism. I told my parents stories of events that had never happened, riches that had never been received, and of a family I hadn't yet known. To me, life was going to be easy and I couldn't wait to prove it. I simply couldn't wait to grow up.
It's funny how things change.
I look back on my childhood, and I sometimes wonder what happened to that boy. What happened to the boy who never second guessed himself for anything, what happened to the boy who never entertained a doubt? At 22 years old and at the doorstep of the rest of my life, I find myself asking questions that I never thought I would have to ask about a future that I never thought would be uncertain. But things change. The boy in the car telling tales of the future had never heard of Susquehanna University and probably couldn't have pronounced it even if he had. If I could go back and have a conversation with that boy, he never would've believed me if I told him where he went to college, and he definitely wouldn't have believed me if I said it would be the best thing that ever happened to him.
Sometimes we need to retrace our steps and think about how different things could have been in order to appreciate what you have. For me, I couldn't be happier that I found Susquehanna because, otherwise, Susquehanna would not have found me.
Four years ago, I wandered into this place without much of a sense of direction. I barely made it out of high school, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and I didn't have much confidence in my ability to succeed as a student. Fortunately for me, my father and mother dragged me out to Pennsylvania and stopped at this place and encouraged me to speak with somebody in admissions. I met a man named Chris Markle during my visit, who strangely enough had been about to review my application before I ran into him. After addressing certain things regarding my record, he decided to give me a chance and paired me with an adviser by the name of Catherine Hastings. I didn't know it then, but the quirky professor with the cluttered office would eventually change my life. Kate saw something in me that I didn't know I had, and I didn't understand how she saw it. I was a journalism student with no experience in journalism, but I heeded her advice and submitted a few stories to the Crusader. Within a few weeks, I was in her office and I won't ever forget the one-sided conversation.
"You're going to be the assistant sports editor. How do you feel about that?" she said. "Barry is moving to news, you'll work under Cory," she told me without waiting for me to object. She really did not ask so much as she told me to do it, but I'm glad she did. I learned responsibility, I learned how to better manage my time and I learned how to lead. Slowly I was becoming the type of student that knew and understood what it would take to do well. I still slacked off at times, but I knew what I was capable of, and whenever I did get lazy Kate was there to slap me in the back of the head. Without knowing it was happening, I was changing into the type of man I wanted to be. I met a beautiful girlfriend, held positions of leadership in multiple organizations, and developed a voice that I am confident of. I look at where I am today, and it doesn't bother me that I don't have an exact plan for the future yet because I know that Susquehanna has prepared to take on whatever assignment I have.
I don't know who is going to read this, but I hope that somebody does. I hope somebody will relate to me or that somebody who has helped me during my time here will accept this as a thank you. I know full well that I wouldn't be who I am had I not met you.
The fact is that it's impossible to know what the future holds for us. When we're young, there's no way to plan for the various hardships we will inevitably have to endure, and we don't care to think about the obstacles we will have to overcome. We're invincible, aren't we? Doesn't everybody tell us that there's nothing in the world that we can't be? You never really know how true that is, until things start to change.
Editor advises future seniorsThis is the last time I will write for The Crusader, and I want to utilize this piece in order to give advice to the rising juniors who will be in my shoes, finding themselves days away from graduation, before they know it.
Throughout the past year, I have become increasingly aware, and thankful, for all of the resources that our university has to offer to its future graduates. One of the most beneficial has been the Center for Career Services. I cannot say enough how much help I have gotten with my résumé, job searching, graduate school applications and much more. I have visited numerous times throughout the past few months, and each time I left feeling confident and comforted. Three other resources to utilize during your senior year are the personal finance sessions offered by Larry Hutchinson, the campus visits from programs such as the Peace Corps and the Fulbright program, and wise words from professors.
The second piece of advice I have is to take any setbacks you may face during your senior year in stride. If you end up not getting into your favorite graduate school or not being chosen for the job you wanted, keep pushing along. In the past few months, so many of my efforts were met with setbacks that I began feeling tinges of bitterness whenever a friend found out good news about an after-graduation plan. I started to realize that things fall together at different times for people. I remember in September when one of my professors mentioned how some people graduate not knowing what the next step is. I also remember how the thought of that made sick to my stomach. I now find myself in that position, but instead of being a nervous wreck over it, I recognize all of the opportunities that I have waiting for me that I'm not even aware of.
My last piece of advice is to keep your head in the game. There will be people during senior year who are "checked out" and "over Susquehanna." I realize sometimes these feelings are inevitable, I have had my moments of this, but try your hardest to take advantage of everything you can before leaving. It is never too late to join a new club or reconnect with friends from freshmen year. Even though the months will pass by fast, try your best to live in the moment. The periods of time I've done this, I found myself meeting incredible new people, trying new things, and laughing and making memories to the very end.
Remember that even though you can't control how others feel and act, you can control your own behavior and mindset. Senior year will only be miserable and daunting if you make it that way. Utilize the time you have left. Be active. Seek help. Be courageous. Don't worry.
WEEKLY FEATURESNewsLiving & ArtsUniversity UpdateForumSports