Monday, January 28, 2013

The "College" Experience

    I was recently asked, “What is the college experience all about?” When I took some time to think about it, the beautiful thing I realized was that it’s really that time period in life where you discover who you are and what you’re meant to do. You start to get some insight into some of life’s most profound questions like “What am I here for?”, “Why do I exist?”, and “What’s the purpose of my life?”.
    Before I came to Drake, I probably would have said it’s a time where you’re supposed to have fun, one grand finale of being a kid with limited responsibilities. Then once you graduate and have to get a job, then it’s time to grow up and take life seriously.
    Now in my fourth year of college, I’ve realized the opposite is true. By discovering who I am and what I’m meant to do, I feel like I’ve found the real me. I feel like I’m making an impact on the world now, even if the results aren’t immediate right away. Each day, I’m learning more and more, and eventually one day that knowledge will culminate and I’ll be able to help and serve others as a physical therapist. In essence, all that hard work will finally pay of and be meaningful in some way other than to myself. And that’s just the academic side of things.
    Ultimately, the “College” experience is really what you want to make of it. At Drake and other schools, there’s endless clubs, opportunities, and endeavors you can pursue, but time is limited. The things and people you invest your time into will be what makes your college experience unique from everyone else.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Little Wonders

    When I came to Drake, I knew there would be fun, big, and exciting things to look forward to each year: the Drake Relays, street painting, running fast races, finishing finals, earning your degree. I thought that it would be these moments that would really define my college experience. Those would be the times that I would remember when I reflect on my time twenty years from now. In essence, all moments like those above are of the type that I could anticipate and hope for. I’m not trying to discredit or belittle any of those moments; some of the ones I’ve mentioned above have been incredibly exciting and fulfilling, however they’re still not the ones that stand out.
    The moments I’ll remember most from college are when the seemingly normal or ordinary grew and developed into something extraordinary. When my plans and expectations didn’t pan out like I thought, they developed into something richer, more satisfying, and beautiful than I ever could have dreamed of. It’s these “Little Wonders” that give life its vigor and essence. I never would have thought that the friendships and relationships at Drake could develop into what they are today. I thought my summer research experience at the University of Michigan would culminate with a completely different ending. I envisioned my life four months prior to graduation to be vastly different from what it is now. It’s these “twists and turns of fate” that stand out and will still remain for a lifetime.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

    As I mentioned last week, I like to set goals at the beginning of the year. It keeps me focused, gives me something to work toward, and is a good way to evaluate progress. Good goals need to be specific, realistic, and meaningful. Here are some of my Drake specific goals for this calendar year (in no particular order):

•    Acceptance at a Physical Therapy Graduate Program – this is probably the biggest goal of the year. There aren’t a lot of programs out there, so the application process is very competitive, most schools only accept 20-25% of their applicants. I’ll apply this summer and have a few schools on my radar.
•    Land a Great Summer Job – the past two summers have been great (study abroad in Spain and chemistry research at the University of Michigan), and I expect this summer to be no different. Right now I have my sights set on a physical therapy research job at nearby Des Moines University.
•    Graduate Summa Cum Laude – to do this, one needs a 3.90 G.P.A. or higher. If I get 4.0s this spring and in the fall, I should be able to make it happen
•    Blog Once/week – As a volunteer blogger, sometimes blogging gets shoved to the back burner if school gets crazy busy. I really do want to be diligent and consistent in my blogging this year though because Drake has given me an incredible experience, and it’s one way I can show my gratitude. I also want to make my blogging more specific towards someone who is going through the college application process. I’m asking some classmates and friends for input too, and if there’s anything you’d like to hear more about, I’d appreciate if you let me know too!
•    Run Fast! – Much of my collegiate running experience has been hampered by injuries. I’ve been able to have good consistent training over most of the past year, and I’m looking forward to seeing the hard work I’ve put in pay off. This season, I’d like to run faster than 14:45 and 31:00 in the 5k and 10k, respectively. I’d also like to score points for the team at the indoor and outdoor conference meets and run an event on the track at this years’ Drake Relays.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

New Year, New Beginnings

       I’ve taken a hiatus from blogging over the past month or so, but now I’m back. This New Year has been off to a fast start for me, let me update you on where I’ve been.
       Finals came and flew by quickly, and luckily grades turned out well. That weekend, I had the honor of being a groomsmen in one of my best friends’ wedding, which turned out really well. Right when the wedding wrapped up that night, I came home to Minneapolis for a week full of physical therapy shadowing and volunteering. Over break, I’ve been getting experience in a variety of different settings to see which might be the best fit for me, and also to obtain more hours to apply for physical therapy school this coming summer.
       Tomorrow, Drake’s inaugural J-term begins, however I’m staying back in the Twin Cities to get some more shadowing in. I’ve also been busy putting in some miles for the upcoming track season, our first competition is less than two weeks away, and my legs are feeling strong, so I’m optimistic for another season filled with personal bests and good memories.
       One of the things I enjoy doing at this time of year is setting goals for the next 12 months. I’ll share some next week. I've got some ambitious goals for school, running, and more