By Steven Haller, Editor-in-chief
April 24, 2013
In 10 days, I will be graduating from High Point University with a degree in journalism, but with no intention of becoming a journalist. That is something that would cause my grandfather to say “Ah-toop-ah-suh-tus?!” (spelled phonetically), which he told me meant “Are you crazy?!” in Lithuanian. It was one of his catch phrases. However, the fact that my goals and my path have shifted just shows how much I have grown in my four years at HPU.
I came to HPU with a goal to learn how to become a sports reporter. I love sports, so the rationale was if I made sports my career, then I would love my career. Nay-nay; this is not what happened. I had an internship at a local news station’s sports department and it did not feel as rewarding as I had hoped.
I realized the reason I loved sports was because I loved watching it and talking about it with my friends and family. I did not love transporting sports information to viewers I would never interact with. I still love to consume sports and I have a much higher appreciation for sports writing; sometimes it can be a true art form. However, thanks to HPU, I realized I much prefer interpersonal interactions over communication through mass media.
If there is anything that my time at HPU has taught me, it is that the people are the most important. I have found the relationships that you build with people are the most rewarding outcomes of college. From working with the Campus Chronicle, the National Society of Leadership and Success, Campus Activities Team, Honor Court, SGA, Sports Link, and the Student Marketing Intern Team, I have interacted with so many great people, some of which I will be in contact with for the rest of my life.
Talking with people, learning about them, and taking an interest in their lives has felt very rewarding. That includes, students, staff and faculty. Some of my most meaningful moments have been speaking with professors after class, having full non-work-related conversations with staff members, and telling jokes and swapping stories with fellow students, whether they are classmates, co-workers, friends or all of the above.
HPU provided an outstanding environment for me to grow and become a better person. I will be a graduate student at HPU next year, but it will be very different without being involved in extracurricular activities. My peers have asked me how it is possible that I could be involved in seven different campus organizations at once, but I tell them nothing is impossible if you have a higher level of expectations for yourself.
If you want to achieve at the highest level, then you have to set your expectations there to even have a chance. If you set low expectations for yourself, then how do you expect to achieve greatness? You must expect greatness in yourself in order to achieve it. The road to greatness is never easy or smooth, but the rewards at the end are more than worth the journey.
It comes down to choosing between what you would rather do in the moment and what you would rather have done. In the moment, I would most likely rather kick back in my recliner and watch sports or go out with friends. Too often people choose to do what they would rather do in the moment, and I am guilty of that from time to time. However, I put a very high value on what I would rather have done. Even when I do not want to get work done in the moment, I know I will feel so much better when it is all done.
Too often, I have found myself and my peers saying, “I don’t feel like it” or “I am too tired.” I have realized the truth is that you are never going to feel like it. Work is not easy, but it is a responsibility that has to take priority. Take the words “cannot” and “tired” out of your vocabulary. Being tired does not mean you cannot do something. Everybody is tired, but some people find a way to push past it anyway. The only secret is you have to work hard. That is a commonality among all successful people: they have worked hard.
Another commonality among successful people is that they all have passion for what they do. Stemming from one of my favorite songs, one of the best ways for getting the most out of life is to take Lee Brice’s advice and “love like crazy.” That means love your friends, love your family, love your community, and love your significant other, but it also means love your career. When you do what you love, you are motivated to put in the work and you work with passion, which yields greatness.
It is the same way when you spend time with who you love. If you love someone, then you put in the effort, you want to make him or her happy. You don’t do things because you have to, you do things because you want to, and by doing that you achieve some of the greatest happiness you will ever experience in your life.
The best things in life are not easy to come by; greatness and happiness are two of those things. However, if you work hard, are passionate in everything you do, and expect greatness in yourself, then I guarantee greatness and happiness will come. That is the advice I am taking with me as I leave college. I have by no means reached greatness or happiness yet, but I believe I can get there if I live by those words.
HPU will always hold a special place in my heart. Between the opportunities I have received and the people I have met, I truly cannot picture myself anywhere else and I would not trade my HPU experience for anything.