JONES: Finding Wahoo

The University experience should be different for every individual

When I reflect on my four years at the University, I can say that I am truly happy with the choices I did and did not make. I am thankful for my success and — more importantly — my failures. It is not until you have had the chance to reflect that you realize your failures have taught you a lesson no professor could ever teach.

Oftentimes we beat ourselves up about not living up to stereotypical “Wahoo” standards. We compare our grades with those of our peers, join all the oldest and largest CIOs, dutifully purchase Bean boots — and for what? So what that you tried out for U-Guides and didn’t make the cut? So what that you only made it past the OL group interviews? So what that you aren’t interested in joining Honor or UJC? Maybe sometimes you think you should have gone to another school, and your choice to attend the number two public school in the nation was a mistake. Maybe you think you do not have a place at the University, and you don’t know what you will do post graduation; but remember that you are not alone. You never know what is in store for you. Going to college for the first time is all about finding yourself. You will have expectations, and with those will be some let downs, leaving even more opportunity to grow. I would like to highlight a quote from Thomas John Watson, Sr. that motivated me to continue to branch out:

“Would you like me to give you a formula for success? It’s quite simple, really. Double your rate of failure. You’re thinking of failure as the enemy of success. But it isn’t at all. You can be discouraged by failure — or you can learn from it. So go ahead and make mistakes. Make all you can. Because, remember that’s where you’ll find success. On the far side.”

Navigating through four years at the University is like jogging up a big hill. You start down at O-Hill, and even though the road may sometimes be long and steep, eventually — with encouragement from Wahoos at slaughter, Balz-Dobie and Kellogg — you find the jog to Upper Hereford a lot easier. A Wahoo never leaves another to struggle. Trust in your community to assist you during times of need. Don’t keep your sadness about your failures all bottled up. Make that phone call to a friend, talk to your professors; visit a dean on call, CAPS or UCS. These are all resources that are readily available to all University students, and if you are struggling to find your place here, these are people you can contact.

Do not join things because of the name or because it’s “the cool thing to do”; join because you are passionate about that CIO. This CIO or club may not be the same thing your friend is interested in, but if it helps fulfill your experience, then continue on that path. Your friends will not disown you because you are a part of a different University community. In fact they may even be interested in learning more about that organization.

My advice to the first-, second- and third-year classes is this: create your own path at the University. There is not one college experience, and it is up to you to make yours unique. Sure, some things will be similar; sure, you will have all done at least eighty to ninety of the activities on the “Things to do Before We Graduate” List; but remember that your experience will still remain different in many ways. Don’t be afraid to be yourself and follow your passion because great success comes to those who do what they love and love what they do. Be proud to be a Wahoo (as I know you are after that Syracuse win) and trust in yourself that you will leave your mark at the University no matter how big or small.

Shakye Jones is a Fourth Year Trustee.

Published March 2, 2014 in Opinion

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