Intent. Risk. Dreams. My reflections on two years of college

By the time most of you find yourself reading this, I will have taken my last final of the year and will be halfway done with college. I cannot adequately put into words just how quickly the past two years have gone and how much has happened. That being said, I have managed to come away with a multitude of realizations as a result of the first half my college experience. I’ve narrowed the list down to three things. Hopefully you can gain something from them. While they are written within the context of a college setting, I would like to think they are broad enough to cover any walk of life.

  1. Be intentional. Time goes fast. Anyone with any amount of life experience knows this. Childhood goes fast. High school goes fast. College goes fast. Life goes fast. Thus, it is paramount that you are intentional in what you do. Everything should have a purpose of some sort, with an aim towards a future goal. Even if you are playing NBA 2K13, napping or eating Cheetos while watching a baseball game (three of my favorite leisure activities over the past year,) those activities should be intentional — relaxing the mind or body or enjoying the company of friends, for example. And that doesn’t even mention the intentionality required to do other tasks: a job or school work, for example. While I have been exceptionally busy over the past year, there is a difference between busyness and intentionality. One has the future in mind, the other is meandering. There are far too many opportunities in the world, especially as a college student, for time to be wasted. Be intentional. Time goes fast.
  2. Take risks. Life shouldn’t be boring. I am a very safe person by nature. I have a strong affinity for my comfort zone, and have learned how to be successful within its confines. But time and time again, life presents opportunities to step outside that zone and take a risk. Most times, I shy away. Why? With risk comes the opportunity for failure. I like success. I crave success. I am terrified of failure. What will people think of me? What if I don’t get back up after falling? So, I stay put. Comfort breeds a high success rate. But I would venture to guess that growth comes more often through failure than through success. And certainly, the reward that comes when a risk is taken and the goal achieved is sensational. Thinking back even just through the past 24 hours, I can think of several risks that I had the opportunity to take. Some I did, some I didn’t. Take risks. Life shouldn’t be boring.
  3. Dream big. Otherwise, why dream at all? I consider myself a visionary. I love planning things out, thinking into the future and thinking about what could be. Just recently, I was named editor-in-chief of the student newspaper at Butler, The Butler Collegian. I immediately started dreaming of what things could be like over the course of the next year. Dreaming requires the last two points as well, intentionality and risk taking. I did both of these things within days of being named to the position. After meeting with the paper’s faculty adviser, I decided to make our weekly print product into a monthly print product, and expand our online presence through extensive multimedia coverage. There were specific journalistic reasons that went into making this change, to be sure. But another part of me relished the opportunity to dream: How could I assemble a staff that could excel? Who fit best into what roles? What brainstorming needed to be done over the summer to best prepare for success? Yet the opportunity to fulfill this dream came because of dreaming other dreams — going to Butler. Being a journalism major. Working for the newspaper. Maybe, one day, some day, covering the basketball team. Maybe, one day, some day, being the EIC. It was only because I had those dreams (and worked to fulfill them) that I have the opportunity to fulfill this one. And I don’t plan on stopping here. I’ve said since I was in middle school that I want to cover the Chicago Cubs — I used to want to take Ron Santo’s job as a radio broadcaster. Now, I’d love to be a beat writer. That dream isn’t going away. Dream big. Otherwise, why dream at all?

I have very few regrets about the past two years. I have some, for sure. Everyone does. But they are vastly outnumbered by the memories I have made and the opportunities I have had, thanks largely in part to trying to implement these principles. I don’t necessarily go about my day thinking about things in those specific terms, but the principles still apply. I look forward to the next two years — hopefully filled with more intent, more risks, and more dreams.

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