What I learned by missing class

I love to miss class.

Absence breaks routine. Absence lets you breathe. Absence gives you opportunities.

Tonight, absence allowed me to meet someone famous, accomplish my dreams and make a difference.

I didn’t miss class intentionally. I accidentally scheduled myself to work the men’s basketball game against Fresno State during a class period. I am one of just two communications assistants at Marquette Athletics, so my help was needed.

Here’s what I do in a nutshell: I make content for social media for Marquette’s men’s and women’s basketball teams, clipping highlights from games and press conferences. I get to give people the best idea of what’s happening in Marquette basketball and why they should be excited about it.

I just started working with Marquette Athletics this year, so I needed to learn most of my job on the fly. Because of the technology, the job is extremely detail-oriented. Early in the season, the tediousness often confused me, tripping me up and making me forget critical tasks.

Last night, my goal was to do my job perfectly, without mistakes and with effort that exceeded expectations. Before the game, I reviewed each task — forty or fifty in total — and rewrote the list in order until it was ingrained in my brain.

Here’s what happened

I gave fans a live stream of pregame warmups on Periscope, applying lessons in multimedia storytelling to the real world.

I made a GIF with a funny caption for the men’s team’s Twitter account. I felt like I exceeded expectations with this post, adding more voice to the team’s social media presence.

Oh, and I met Milwaukee Bucks star Antetokounmpo, directing him to his seat.

By not making any mistakes and exceeding expectations, I felt like I made a difference at work last night. The feeling was most alive in me when a random coworker approached me and my fellow communications assistant and commended us for our work.

My favorite part of last night, though, occurred before the game even started. As I filmed pregame warmups, I looked into the upper level. I imagined myself at five years old, sitting with my family and cheering on the Golden Eagles. I had no idea I would be standing on the court fourteen years later at work. I felt like if I told my younger self about my job today, he’d think it was very cool. At that moment, I knew I was living out my dream, working for the Marquette basketball team and giving fans a reason to feel excited and have fun.

I guess it was a good thing that I missed class. Considering the class was eventually cancelled, maybe my absence was meant to be.

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