Before we get started on the next four items on the countdown, I want to share some memories that were great, but didn’t make the top 10:
- Mike Johnson in his booty shorts at the PLC Fish Fry in ’05
- Getting pulled over in a car with Zach Stamile, Leigh Ott, Samson Shyers and Nathan Lillie (Nathan and Samson were wearing only cowboy hats…it’s a long story)
- Losing Fenska’s keys by the river, and Adney getting into a van with some locals (scary)
- Dreams with Rusty White, Richard Brandt, Fenska, Adney, and Geppelt
- Going to NYC with ‘ole Dale Daddy
- During Zoology, making a pig jump rope…using it’s own entrails with Callen Williams
- Taking Zoology twice
6. Graduating with My Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees
What is college without actually getting the degree, right? I took an academic redshirt (what I call doing very poorly academically) my freshman year of college, which set me on course to graduating in 5 years. I now think that graduating in 5 years is on-time, 4 1/2 years is early, and 4 years is ridiculous.
Therefore, I was set to graduate on-time from college with a degree in Broadcasting and Journalism (which I am obviously now using). This was a bittersweet moment for me, because I loved being a college student, and I had no idea what I was going to do for a living. I had completed an internship with Channel 6 in Tulsa, and found out that sports broadcasting was not the career for me.
Walking across the stage at graduation was an awesome moment though, because I had worked hard for years to become a college graduate. It is always awesome to set a goal, overcome obstacles, and achieve your dreams.
I eventually got a job at NSU, and thought I might pursue my master’s degree. However, I was tired of school and needed a break…so I thought.
My good friend Emily Konieczny had started her job at NSU before me, and really wanted to get a master’s degree. She pretty much begged me to start school with her in the Fall. I stood my ground, however, and decided I was taking the break. A week before school started, Emily came to me with a piece of paper and threw it on my desk.
Emily smiled at me as she said, “Here ya go! We have classes on Tuesday/Thursday at 7!”
What??? Are you kidding me? I hadn’t enrolled in any classes, and I didn’t plan on it, either. She had enrolled me in classes without my permission, and even bought my book (we shared it). She didn’t want to be in class by herself, and she pretty much forced me to start as well.
We took every single class together until we achieved our master’s degree in 2008. This was a great day, as almost ever single member of my family graduated on the same day. Melissa and I got our master’s; Kristin, KC, and Josh got their bachelor’s, and Leslie got a law degree…all on the same day. I had never been so proud.
5. Greek Week Spring 2003
So many people were hoping I would post about this week. I would venture that if you polled most of the Greek community from those years…they would have this week on their Top 10 list. So much happened in such a short time, and I will try to relive it through the next few paragraphs.
It started like any other Greek week, at the chili cook-off and block party on Friday night. The next morning was football, and tensions were high as the fraternities and sororities geared up for the long week ahead. Then, all of the sudden a Delta Zeta passed out amongst the crowd. A car came screeching towards the curb and 4-5 girls loaded the fallen athlete into the car. This was a psych-out performed by the young ladies to get the rest of the sororities to think the passed-out girl wouldn’t play. This is when we all knew it was going to be a special week.
The sun was warm on the dry intramural fields the next morning as the guys and gals warmed up for the very first games of the week. I was standing next to Matt Eaton, the Greek Week Chair, as the Delta Zetas (including the fallen athlete, who amazingly recovered) marched onto the field in strange uniforms. They had footballs on every single shirt to confuse the defense and wore red shorts that matched their shirts. They immediately grabbed the red flags for the game and began to warm up…this got Eaton fired up!
He immediately told them that they couldn’t wear the red flags with the red shorts, it created an unfair advantage. They had to wear the yellow flags…no question. They complied immediately, grabbed their yellow flags, and took off their red shorts to display that they had yellow shorts on underneath. Eaton nearly fell over. He finally convinced them that you couldn’t wear the same color shorts as flags, and the game kicked off…only 30 minutes late.
Angers were flying around the fields after the kickoff. The DZs were playing the Sigmas, who were extremely talented athletically. The most athletic Sigma received the handoff, turned the corner, and was form-tackled by a DZ. The Sigma immediately stood up and punched the DZ in the face. Knocked her out cold. Then mass chaos ensued.
Sixty DZs and 60 Sigmas rushed across the field meeting in the middle like a battle scene from an action movie. It had been extremely dry in Oklahoma that Spring, and the intramural field was a sheet of dust. When the ladies converged upon each other, it was like a cartoon fight. There was dirt and arms and legs flying around. It took 15-20 minutes and hundreds of people to stop the fighting. I actually saw Eaton drag a girl out of the pile who was holding onto another girl’s hair. He was dragging two girls across that dusty field.
The next few days were even more intense. My truck got egged, there were concussions during basketball, and screaming during the rest of football. All of this paled in comparison to the Greek Week Talent Show.
We all participated in Greek Week Talent Show, but we never put much effort into it…it wasn’t worth any points for crying out loud (and Carrie Underwood performed for the Sigmas, no one was going to win against her). We had three Lambda Chis sing a really boring song for the Greek community before finishing with their encore. It was a song someone created during the late nights by the fire called the Turtle Song.
I won’t repeat the Turtle Song on this blog because this is a family blog, but just know that the DZs were not happy. These three sang this song (without telling anyone in our chapter) in front of every member of the Greek community, the campus administration, and family and friends. I sat next to Chris Adney, who was our president and dating a DZ who eventually became his wife and my coworker. He placed his head in his hands and shook it back and forth. I turned around and a TKE pointed at me and yelled, “You guys have no class!” This was when I knew we were in trouble.
We were winning Greek Week, but withdrew immediately. It was a crazy week that ended up being a huge learning experience for everyone involved. I do want to mention that I had many good friends who are/were DZs and Sigmas, and this is no indictment on them…I am just retelling the story! The emotions flying around during that week cemented it into my Top 10 NSU Moments.
At my Outstanding Senior interview I met a crazy lady named Diane Walker. She was the director of a program called Educational Talent Search, a grant-funded program that helps low-income, first-generation high school students pursue and attend college. We had a wonderful interview and I told her that if she ever had a position open up to keep me in mind. Sure enough, a few months later she called me up and asked me to interview again, this time for a big-kid job.
Needless to say I got that job (“Get the interview, get the job.” – Mike “Cadillac” Johnson), and it has been one of the greatest opportunities of my life. I have been blessed with wonderful coworkers and amazing students. I have been able to learn from the best and truly believe that our ETS office is not just the best in the state, but the entire country. I have been able to travel to almost 10 different states from trainings, and spent time with some of the best experiential-based educators in the country.
I have so many great stories from my time at NSU ETS. To all of my friends who stopped by office for all of those years…I truly appreciate it, even though Connie probably didn’t. A big shout out to all of my student workers over the years: Kristin, Rachel, Megan, Erielle, Mary, Derick, Jenny, Jessica, Kayla, and Kaleigh…I couldn’t have asked for any better. I think very fondly of you all.
I have so many great students that I couldn’t name them all, but a few rise above the rest…you know who you are. I hope that I have inspired you as much as you have inspired me. You all overcome so many obstacles to success…and I know you will all do great things.
I had great opportunities to join professional organizations like ODSA and SWASAP that have been awesome. Scott, James, Tammy Hot Dogs, Norman, Sara, Checkerless, Terhicki, J-Pol, Jeffry, Deltha, Rhonda, Breener, Squarehead, Dr. G, McElves, Welly, and my RSU friends. We have fun…enough said.
Heather, Diane, Shelia, Lisa, and Lindsey deserve tons of praise for putting up with me for hours upon hours. They certainly need at least a medal of some sort. You guys will be the first people I call if I make it big, because I know we work together amazingly well. I appreciate your patience and kindness to a young kid trying to find his way through this world…especially on Monday mornings.
3. Getting PLC…Losing PLC…Getting PLC Back
I was fortunate in high school to receive the President’s Leadership Class scholarship! This was a big deal, it required excellent leadership skills, decent scholastic achievement, and great interview skills. My dear friend Kristin Schell convinced me to apply for this scholarship and even helped me fill out the application (I am sensing a theme here). We were so nervous when we went to the interview as high school seniors.
Kristen, Cousin Kyle, and myself headed to Tahlequah to interview with some NSU legends. This is when I met so many influential people in my life. I dominated my interview (“Get the interview, get the job.” – Mike “Slideshow” Johnson), and was excited to meet the other PLC students.
Being in PLC was awesome, it only had two rules:
- Be active in two student organizations.
- Keep a 3.25 GPA.
Of course this was going to be no problem, I would have been involved regardless of PLC, and I made great grades in HS. Oh man was I mistaken.
I remember freshmen enrollment like it was yesterday. I sat next to a young Jenn Foster, and we both wanted to be physical therapists. Dez Watts enrolled us in Zoology, because she apparently hated us. This started my struggle with science classes, and it didn’t stop until I was eventually removed from the scholarship.
My time out of PLC was very humbling. Some of my PLC classmates made fun of me..a lot. I was the butt of a lot of jokes, and I incurred a ridiculous amount of debt. However, it forced me to grow up in a hurry. My parents would have loved to help me out, but this was all on my shoulders. I didn’t make the grades, and I didn’t get the money.
I spent those next two years digging out of a hole that I placed myself in. My transcript reads much like a roller coaster, going up and down across the page. I worked very hard in my new major and often had two or three jobs. I made it work, and eventually raised my GPA above the 3.25 mark. I became one of the very few to be kicked out of PLC who was welcomed back into the scholarship organization (Here’s looking at you Anita, Lindsey, and Amanda! We have overcome!).
When I graduated from NSU, the President of the University, Larry Williams, gave me a plaque as a PLC graduate. He gave me a bear hug and told me he was proud of my perseverance. Getting, losing, and getting PLC again taught me so much about myself and was very influential in my future success.
That does it for this part of the countdown. I am excited about the next two posts, as they were two of the most influential moments of my life. Do you remember these stories, did I leave anything off of the list? What stories make your top 10?