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"When you're screwing up and nobody says anything to you anymore, that means they've given up on you."

Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture

At the beginning of the semester everyone always has big plans about what they’re going to make of theyear.  I know I always do.  Man, I’m going to go to every single class, I’m going to study every single night, I’m going to keep up with my homework, I’m going to go to the DISC, I’m going to get involved, I’m going tohang out with my friends and I’m not going to sleep all the time.  However, it is just a fact of life for anyone that you’re not always going to be as perfect as you had planned.  There are going to be homework assignments that take longer to complete than the allotted hour.  There are going to be days you really, really, REALLY want to fit that nap in instead of taking care of something on the old to do list.  There are going to be days that you said you were going to reconnect with someone, but they are stuck in the library studying for a test.  It’s okay when things like this come up, like I said, it happens to everyone.  What’s really important is to prioritize and get the things that are most important done.  When other people are counting on you for group projects, or you are involved on campus and you made a commitment to contribute, you need to make sure that these things are taken care of in addition to staying on top of your schoolwork.  I’m not saying that I’m doing any better of a job, I’m justsaying that this needs to be recognized before it can be reconciled.

            It’s easy to slack off and do what you need to get done for yourself, and only for yourself.  However, if you have other commitments, you need to make it work.  At the beginning of the month I was a little overwhelmed with everything going on.  Normally, I would have just tried to get everything done last minute andgotten some of the not directly school related stuff “completed”, but only halfheartedly.  However, I am glad that someone talked to me and let me know what was expected of me, and what I had to do.  At first, I was a little upset because I felt like I was being called out.  There are many college students that go throughout their college career doing the bare minimum, and for some people that is fine.  They will do what they want to do, and nothing more, and they will be average.  They will find jobs, and they will beaverage.  If average is okay with you, then I would encourage you to rethink your potential. 

            However, I realized that the reason someone was telling me that I was not living up to their expectations is because this person had taken the time to get to know me, and knew that I could do better.

            Millikin University is different than other colleges because the faculty and staff try to create an environment where they are doing more than just providing astandard education.  Millikin is trying to help you develop your potential.  There are so many people on campus that do what they do day-to-day just to allow students to have opportunities to succeed.  I am so glad that I chose to go to school at a small university in Decatur, Il, because I know that there are people on campus that are going to help me be who I want to be.  Being around an entire house of guys that are striving to be the best on campus gives me role models that reflectwho I want to be.  I have the best mentors in the world, and if it wasn’t for them helping me figure out where I want to go and what I need to do to get there, then, yeah, I would have adiploma in a few years but it would just a piece of paper. 

            To my boys at TKE, my advisor Professor Brown, Candace Baker, Amy Hodges, Marry Garrison, the people at the career center, and my professors:  thanks for consistently going above and beyond and being great mentors and friends and recognizing when I’m doing what I should be doing, and also “calling me out” when I need to step up.  I can see the improvement I’ve made,and I appreciate what you do for me and hundreds of other students on campus.

            So half the semester or something like that left, lets finish up strong Big Bluesians.

Yo whatup Millikin University.  I had such a great time last year, this year was the first summer I was actually ready for the summer to be over, and to be back at school.  I'm still excited to be back, and enjoying the day to day.  However, I am starting to learn what busy actually means.  When I used to say I was busy, I meant busy as in had a few hours of homework a night busy.  This semester, especially during these weeks where all my professors are giving tests, are like triple busy in reference to what I thought busy meant.  If that makes sense.  Which it probably doesn't.  I don't care...I'm busy-er than I used to be, but it's cool.
Anyway, other than sleeping significantly less and studying a lot more, I am loving the junior life.  I decided to ditch shopping for myself and cooking, and this year I am back on the meal plan.  It is awesome to be able to go there basically any time of the day and get to eat as much as you want, without having to make the food or clean up the dishes.  
Living in the fraternity house with my brothers is also going as well as I had hoped.  It's nice to live in a house where everyone takes school seriously, but still likes to have a good time and hang out.  If you have things to do, there's places in the house that are kept quiet for studying purposes.  On the other hand, there's usually impressive hangout sessions throughout most of TKE.  
The fall at Millikin has such a recognizable feeling.  I don't know if it's the changing temperature, the leaves starting to change colors or what, but it's a welcome environment.  Not looking forward to eventually walking to class in the snow, but for now, I'm enjoying the weather cooling down.
When checking the weather for this week I was very pleased to see that the temperatures are predicted to stretch into the 80's this week!  Winter is over, hopefully.  Although the winter can be fun for the extreme sledding and the fact that you can throw snow at unsuspecting people, I am definitely ready for a hopefully long and hot summer.
Yesterday I took the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful day by inviting a few friends over to the apartment to cook some burgers.  We sat on the porch and listened to music while eating, and enjoyed fresh air.  My brother Ben is coming to visit tomorrow, he is 17 and is going to be taking a tour of the University to check out some of the classes and meet some people who attend here.  He is a hilarious kid and I'm looking forward to hanging out with him.
School is busier than usual for me right now, but I am quickly getting things checked off the list and can feel that the end of the semester is closer than most students realize.  A few papers here, a couple of tests there and I will be done with my sophomore year.  It goes way too quickly, and I don't know if I'm ready to be an upperclassman.  I am planning on staying an extra year at Millikin to get the credits I need for my CPA, so I guess I can pretend that I'm still a sophomore next year and it won't seem too weird.  I remember moving in freshman year, and can't believe that was 19 months ago!
Over and out
It seems like the days here at Millikin pass by more and more quickly the closer we get to the end of the year.  Although the week can get very busy, and sometimes everyone just wants it to be over with so they can get their much needed sleep, when I look back time always seems to go so fast.  A lot has happened for me this month here in Decatur.  
    It has been just under a month since I accepted a bid for Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity.  I did not know at the time exactly what to expect, I just knew that I had been told that rushing would be one of the greatest decisions I had made thus far.  A month later, I have not been disapointed, and would highly recommend that everyone should at least go through the houses during next rush week and see what the various fraternities are all about.  They work hard, and they play hard, all the while developing friendships that will stay with you for the rest of your life.  
    Last night, some of the guys in our chapter got the chance to go out and support one of our fellow fraternities on campus, Sigma Alpha Epsilon at their formal pinning ceremony at Pilling Chapel.  It was a cool experience, and it was good to see our friends from another fraternity go through this event.
    Last week I also got the opportunity to participate in group presentations for one of my classes.  We discussed "Me 2.0", a book about personal branding by Dan Schawbel.  Through reading and presenting this book we learned a lot about the current job market, and how it is important to create a "brand" for yourself to set yourself apart as an expert or leader in order to enhance your professional success.  
    I feel this closely relates to our opportunities here and how we can create a brand for ourselves while in school.  I used to be the kind of student that did my school work and hung out with a few friends and called it a day.  I was missing out!  It is really important to get involved around campus, meet people, and gain experiences that can and likely will lead to new opportunities.  For me this revelation of how great it is to get involved came with pledging a fraternity, but there are a ton of groups, clubs and events just about every day here at Millikin, and you will not regret participating in some that interest you.
    Yay March!  Hopefully it will keep getting warmer.
Getting to know the guys a bit better from Tau Kappa Epsilon over this past week has been legit.  Going to a relatively small school, I thought that I (for the most part) knew the majority of students on campus.  I was wrong. Just hanging out talking to these new friends, playing pool, darts and video games has made this week really enjoyable.  Rush week has "rushed" by faster than any other week I can recall.

Thursday night was really significant to me.  It was "The TKE experience" night at the house.  All of the members of the house dressed nicely, and we met in a more formal room and listened as brothers of the fraternity told stories of their experiences in the house and what it meant to them.  Some of the stories were hilarious, and some were more personal and you could tell how much the members valued the bonds they had made within the chapter.

It was cool to learn a bit of the history of the house as well, as our very own Millikin University has the second chapter of TKE in the history of the fraternity.  For those of you not familiar with TKE, it is the largest fraternity in the world.  This makes it pretty profound that MU is home to the second chapter ever formed, and has now been on campus for over 100 years!

After everyone had talked, I realized that the guys all felt that TKE was their home.  The fraternity had pushed them to be better leaders and gave them opportunities to constantly improve.  Today, at 10:14 a.m., I got a phone call from IFC.  I was in my finance class, so the call went to voicemail.  After getting out of class, I discovered that I had received a bid.  Immediately I headed to lower RTUC and signed for it.  I'm pumped.  Many of the members mentioned how rushing TKE had been the best choice they had made thus far at Millikin.  I have a feeling that I may find the same statement to be true.
Excited for the weekend.

Going through rush week has kept me busy, and, has overall been, as Larry David would say, "pretty, pretty, pretty good."  It has been awesome to meet a lot of the guys in various houses, and getting to know what greek life is about.  The free food doesn't hurt either.  This week at MU has been relatively busy academically as well.  Yesterday I gave a speech on "Haunted Millikin" for a introductory course to business communication.  It was a great experience and I am looking forward to learning techniques on how to become a better speaker.  I feel like this is a necessary skill for any business major, and being able to speak well publicly is a great way to demonstrate leadership skills.  Honestly, however, public speaking is still quite intimidating to me and I am quite glad to have gotten my speech over with.  
Yesterday rush week began as those planning on going through had a meeting in lower RTUC to learn some information about the different fraternities we have here on campus, and get to meet some of the different guys from the different fraternities.  At the meeting, we also went over the schedule for the week and what to be expecting.  Everyone seemed pretty excited, and tonight the potential pledges will get the chance to take a tour through all of the houses at seven o'clock.  
As the oldest child in my family, I did not really know too much about what to expect in college.  I definitely did not know the first thing about fraternities or sororities.  I had seen Will Ferrell's "Old School", but that's as far as my knowledge extended.  I soon learned that you can't stereotype the Greek community, as fraternities and sororities mean a lot more to most pledges and alumni than a fun social experience.  This year, after asking various friends around campus about their Greek experience, I decided it was something that seemed appealing to me.  So...today I signed up for formal recruitment, which will begin January 30th.  I'm pumped to see what it will be like.  If anyone's thinking about going Greek, Millikin's Website has some solid information at www.millikin.edu/studuentdev/studentprograms/greek
Over and out
Today I guess I was a little too confident that I already had my class schedule down.  I went to my ten o'clock finance class no problem, and knew that I had a bit of a break before my next class.  Unfortunately, however, I incorrectly remembered what class came after the break in my day, and went to my Tuesday/Thursday classroom instead of my Monday/Wednesday/Friday.  Not really paying too much attention to my surroundings, I did not realize my mistake until the professor came in and began speaking French!  I quickly realized my error and raced to the correct classroom, which, fortunately was in the same building.  I ended up being only a few minutes late to class.  However, I still probably gave a terrible impression by being late during the first full week back from winter break.  I talked to my professor afterwards about being late, and he was very understanding and even laughed with me at my foolish error.  I have a feeling his class is going to be pretty cool, as he seems very concerned about his students and not the "no excuses, no exceptions" kind of guy.

On Friday I happened to see on Millikin.edu that the famous Jack Hanna was coming to our very own Kirkland Fine Arts Center.  I decided to take advantage of Millikin’s Muonefree program and get a complimentary ticket to see the highly recognized zoo keeper and animal show host Jungle Jack perform right here in Decatur!  Jack put on an amazing show, presenting a variety of animals including:  a sloth, a penguin, a bearcat, a Lynx, a couple of different armadillos, a flamingo, a young crocodile, a couple of other rare cats (I’m blanking on the names), and a tortoise.  At one point during the show he pulled up a young newlywed and surprised her by putting cockroaches on her, as well as letting her feel his pet toad, and making her look away as he brought out what he told her to be, “a little snake”.  This snake turned out to be gigantic and about 15 feet long (I believe he said it was a python?).  Finally he brought out an absolutely beautiful cheetah, which, he reminded us, is the fastest land animal and can move at speeds around 70 miles per hour.  Jack showed us highlights from his experiences as an animal show host, and an appearance on David Letterman’s talk show, where he unintentionally sprayed Dave while milking a goat.  He also taught the audience how to deal with running into a bear or other large animal in the wild.  He completed the show with a hilarious compilation of bloopers, which included a funny scene where he was kissed on the mouth by a chimpanzee.  Jungle Jack’s presentation was informative and entertaining. I was glad to have been there for this really cool experience, and will definitely be watching Mr. Hanna perform on David Letterman February 2nd for groundhog’s day.

 
Millikin University - Decatur, IL
 
Millikin University - Decatur, IL
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