Back in May I started this blog, just a week after undergoing the nostalgic and celebratory craziness that is college graduation. I've been meaning to write about my experiences from that weekend. Actually, one experience in particular that really left a mark on me...
Yup, that's broken glass.
And I wasn't sure what lesson to take from it. And more importantly, I didn't know how to put a humorous spin on it and create a good blog post about it. Special thanks to my good friend Chelsey for helping me talk my way into learning something.
There were a lot of things that helped define my college career. A great UB education, surrounded by awesome people in my major that pushed me to do well in our classes together, and a great circle of friends. But one of the most significant aspects of my time at UB was my leadership: Helping to lead the Residence Hall Association, interacting with other leaders there and with Mortar Board Honor Society, leading jazz band rhythm sections and more. And yes, maybe I worked too hard on leadership things, to the point where it detracted from my academics. Maybe I could have gotten better grades if I had devoted more brainpower to my studies, but looking back...I don't think I would have changed anything. I learned a lot, both in books and out of them, and I had amazing times with my friends. But I digress. A lot.
Anyway, in early March I was chillin' in the Center for Student Leadership and Community Engagement (which I was doing a lot during the year), when the director asked me if I'd received a letter from UB's most beloved "silver fox" (named by female friends of mine), the VP of Student Affairs Dennis Black. I replied that I had not, to which she responded "Okay, let me know when you do." And then she walked away. Leaving me very confused.
Eventually I was told that I was going to be recognized at the College of Arts & Sciences graduation ceremony with the VP Student Award for Senior Leadership. I felt honored. Dennis said some nice things about me, people cheered, and it was an amazing experience.
So I would like to thank the Department of Student Affairs for giving me that award. It was beautiful.
And I'm really, really sorry I dropped it. And shattered it. In the last ten minutes of the graduation ceremony.
And thank you again, Student Affairs, both for worrying that I would cut myself and taking away most of the shattered pieces, and for giving me a new award. One that is twice as thick as its predecessor.
So far this post has basically been an exercise in expressing arrogance, and for that I apologize. But I did learn something that I hope everyone bears in mind - a humorous lesson, but a lesson nonetheless. No matter how much we succeed, and no matter how amazing a leader can become...he/she can still do stupid things, have silly moments, and in general, make a fool of him-/herself. Those are the experiences that bring us back down to earth. We need those moments to keep us humble, and thereby keep us human.
That's why I keep those two pieces of glass - the only parts of the original award I have left. They remind me that I will always make mistakes, so while I can be proud of my accomplishments, I shouldn't let my successes go to my head. Gotta stay on my toes.
So what are your pieces of glass?