In his four years at Drake Weller documented how he came to choose Drake, his study abroad experiences (he was on the ground in—and later evacuated from—Egypt during the country’s recent revolution), his involvement in student organizations, and the ups and downs of daily life on campus.
Just before he graduated and became an officer candidate for the United States Navy, Ian left a bit of advice and some tips to help future Bulldogs make the most of their time at Drake.
What I Learned From Drake
May 31, 2012
This will be my last post for Drake University.
While I was a high school student still contemplating which university to attend, I started following the writings of [Drake student] Adam Kaduce, BN,’09, LW’12. I found Adam’s blog through the Drake Admission site (www.drake.edu/advantage) — the same site where my blog has lived for the past four years.
Adam also acted as my tour guide on each of my three visits to campus and he was instrumental in helping me make the decision to attend Drake. His blog was a great help to me as I made the transition into college, so when I was offered the opportunity to start my own blog to reach students who were coming to Drake after me, I jumped at the chance.
I am most thankful for the record this blog has been of some pivotal moments in my life—specifically my times spent abroad. I am thankful to the other students who have read this blog and talked with me about it. This record of my time at Drake means the world to me, and it was great to share it with you. Therefore I will leave you with a few things I learned at Drake:
* The “I” game: Watch how much you use the word “I.” There was a meeting I (start counting) frequently had to attend for an organization. One of the gentlemen in it would constantly go on tangents that had nothing to do with the job at hand. I (two) made it a game to count how many times the fellow used the word. I (three) learned a great deal from how this made me feel and I (four) realized it is something I (that’s 5) certainly need to work on.
* Work out, get your heart moving, and do so early—you will feel amazing. I had so many early mornings at Drake with the Army ROTC that I am certainly in the top group for “most sunrises over the dorms witnessed.” There is something magical about this campus at that time of day—doubly so when you are working out and then heading to breakfast with a great group of friends.
* Dining should never be rushed and should always be social. If not, then you are just eating. There are plenty of Des Moines dining options and the campus food is actually not bad compared to other places. Do not be afraid to meet someone and share a meal. During times of intense study, this was the only time I got to see people outside of class so it was great to have this social interaction, which I strongly feel should be had every day.
* There is always time to meet with friends, or grab a shake or breadsticks (and on the best nights, all three). There is a time fast approaching if you are still in college when you will not be able to text eight people and end up doing all three of these things. We call that graduation. Make the most of the time you have now.
* Smile at everyone. It makes you feel great and makes others feel great as well. One of the qualities of Drake Bulldogs is that we smile. A lot. Regardless of whether we know the person we’re smiling at. It just makes for a happier campus.
* Support your troops. Attend an honor flight or a Memorial Day ceremony. I had no idea what I wanted to do when I got into college, but I knew that I didn’t want to be involved with the military. That slowly changed through the relationships and mentors I had found through the armed services and my related experiences.
* Lead at some point. Reflect on your day and your leadership skills. You can always improve something. There are many leadership labs in the form of organizations at Drake. Grab these opportunities by the horns. Imagine what kind of leader you would be if your organization got to vote at the end of your tenure on whether or not you were allowed to put the experience on your resume?
* Take time to make an impact on someone’s life, the campus, the community, etc. When I was leaving campus there was a girl I had known since my first year who was one of the few that I had stayed close with all through college. She cried when we had our last lunch together and thanked me for the friendship and times we shared over the years. That really moved me.
* I am much more capable than I thought I was. You are too.
* After graduation you won’t see many of the people you meet in college. This does not minimize those relationships or make them any less significant. Things change, so make time in your younger years to appreciate everything you can before life gets too busy.
* Walks are always a great way to relieve stress or catch up with someone.
* Hug often.
* Value friendliness. Bulldogs are known for that.
* Find out what you stand for and what you believe in—but don't fall for the first thing that presents itself. Understand your beliefs better than anything. Know them intimately. Fall in love with them. Remember that college is a great opportunity to tangle with new ideas and beliefs. And you’ll always have other Bulldogs to support you.