Survival tactics



I won’t lie to you: I had quite the attitude when I came to college.  Most kids in my position were nervous or timid, but not me.

My arrogant motto shortly after completing my first semester was “Veni, vidi, vici,” or “I came, I saw, I conquered.”

Yes, I finished my homework in time, took my required exams and made it to most of my classes, but I never truly paused and reflected upon the semester that I had dreamt of since my first day of middle school.

I experienced good days, bad days and those days that all of us would honestly like to forget. But despite the misfortune that made its way into my life throughout the semester – more than I expected – I was able to learn a couple of lasting lessons at Butler University.

Lesson one: your professors can be your BEST friends.  

The unavoidable stress of finals week was beginning to pile upon my shoulders when I began to feel a sharp pain in my stomach. Being a stubborn teenage boy, I initially thought it was just something I ate, but after an agonizing six hours lying in bed and a high temperature of 103 degrees, I was forced to have my roommate rush me up North Meridian Street toward St. Vincent Hospital.

I was told that I had appendicitis and would be going into an emergency surgery the next morning.  I was terrified.  Being the nervous wreck that I usually am when I get bad news, I blankly stared at my doctor, who happened to be a Butler graduate.  I could hardly believe the words coming from her lips. One minute I was watching college basketball and the next I was getting cut open like a Christmas ham.

I quickly emailed my professors 30 minutes prior to my appendectomy and woke up seven hours later with responses filled with unbelievable kindness.  Not only did they postpone my exams to the Friday of finals week, but they put my health first.  In addition to all of the accommodations made for me academically, I also received a surprise visit in the hospital from my College of Business career mentor.  This consequently shed some light on the “Butler Way” that us Bulldogs are often told about.

I came to recognize that Butler professors care about their students, and I find that to be a great attribute of our university.

Sure, I wasn’t able to do much last-minute studying in the two days between my hospital release and that Friday, but I survived finals week.

Lesson two: be aware of your grades, not obsessed with them.

Unfortunately, I am guilty of this one.  At the beginning of last semester, I would go to class, find a few minutes to chow down at Atherton, go to the library and then go to bed so I could relive the same day over and over again.  It was, as “Mean Girls” put it, “social suicide.”

I always dreamed of being the straight “A” student that my parents could brag about, but the stress I put on myself with this mundane cycle only made me miss out on the friendships I could have been making, the opportunities I could have been experiencing and the life I could have been living.  Luckily, I figured out this lesson within two months of being a Dawg and just like my surgery, I survived.

Obviously, grades are important. However, college is much more than spending three hours on a practice calculus problem during a Butler basketball game.

College is about managing your time, making lasting friendships, and being able to experience substantial freedom and the responsibility that comes with it.

When looking back at the famous yet deceitful Julius Caesar motto I began with, “I came, I saw, I conquered,” I would like to make a change to his words after my reflection of the semester.

Yes, I came to Butler.  Yes, I saw much of what Butler has to offer. However, I would not say that I conquered Butler.  I survived, and, quite honestly, I think that is what the “college life” is all about.

I am not a philosopher, but I can pick up on the hint that life is hard.

My motto has changed.

“Veni, vidi, superfuerant.”

I came, I saw, I survived.