Accomplishments brought by hard work, perseverance

T.J. Gerlach - Senior Editor

T.J. Gerlach – Senior Editor

T.J. Gerlach

“If I leave here tomorrow, will you still remember me?”

Well it may not be tomorrow, but I will be leaving Missouri Southern this semester. That’s right – I am graduating (finally). But do not fret, this will not be the typical “I’m leaving. Good-bye to all my friends and thank you to all my instructors” farewell column.

In my four short years here, I would like to think I have left a piece of myself on campus, as I will carry a little piece of it with me forever.

So as I shuffle off this educational coil, I have to reflect back on the time spent. And by-and-large, I am unsatisfied. While I filled my time with plenty of activities, club involvement and time with friends, I do not feel I utilized the rest of my time in college with enough life-enriching experiences. I always look back and wonder “What did I miss by not going to that meeting, lecture or activity?” and “Shouldn’t I have gone with my friends when they did that?”

Despite these misgivings, what I have heard from many friends and instructors is that I have in some way left a piece of myself. It may only be in their minds and/or hearts, but even that is more than I ask. Those who truly know me know I do not work as hard as I do and accomplish what I do simply for the credit. I do it for me.

Honestly, the credit (awards, certificates and so on) does not mean that much to me. Usually a simple “Thank you” suffices, and that is where I derive the meaning in what I do. That is just the way I was brought up – get the job done, get it done right and get it done well.

Others may see much of what I do as going the extra mile or taking a yard when I’m given an inch, but, again, it is simply my upbringing.

Maybe I’ll one day be that student instructors refer to when they talk about past students in class or that student Dr. Pat Kluthe, director of the honors program, tells a story about when welcoming the newest class of freshman honors students. I don’t know.

In doing what I do, I have many times become extremely bogged down, but a short visit with the right friend, instructor or family member always pulled me through. When faced with insurmountable odds like in those times, especially when a group is involved, I usually tend to remind myself of a monologue from Shakespeare’s King Henry the Fifth. On the dawn before facing a force five times his own, the king recites his St. Crispin’s Day speech. This monologue is a classic for motivation.

“We few, we happy few, we band of brothers; For he to-day that sheds his blood with me Shall be my brother. Be he ne’er so vile, This day shall gentle his condition.”

Though not the complete speech, these words are nonetheless inspirational. They are especially handy when looking at the student population as a whole. We fight not against an enemy but to improve ourselves day-in and day-out.

I’m not simply writing for my own good here, but I wish all underclassmen to take them to heart as a little good advice from someone who has been there and done that.

In conclusion, I leave this wonderful University, flaws and all, and all its faculty, staff and students with the following Irish Blessing I ran across recently:

May the road rise up to meet you; may the wind be ever at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face and the rain fall softly on your fields. And until we meet again, may God hold you in the hollow of his hand.