I recently took a school field trip to Japan. We are studying innovation and technology in the MSBA program at UM, so I was excited to see what was happening over there. Throughout our journey we were shuttled to various tourist attractions: Mount Aso (an active volcano), Kumamoto castle, Shibuya square in Tokyo, Senso-ji temple, and others.
One day we were going to visit a place called the Yokosuka Research Park, just a short drive from Tokyo. We were lucky enough to have a UM professor of Japanese language literature guiding us around Japan. On the way he recounted a visit to Japan earlier in his life (maybe late 1990’s) when he noticed some ‘new technology’ the Japanese had just begun using at the time. “It was a way for people to take a picture on a cellular phone and send it to another person….What an odd thing and it was hard to imagine what people would want this for. I was sure this would be a fad and would never catch on.”
BBC news reports in this article 9/18/2001 and asks readers “What would you do with a gadget like this, particularly as it costs nearly US $500?”
“Infinite uses for the teenager, not entirely sure what the rest of us would do with one though.”
“I would use the camera phone to take pictures of my best friend, my dog Benson.”
“Great for spying. The camera could be held against a keyhole, and the images immediately sent to any interested parties.”
Keep in mind myspace.com wasn’t launched until 2003, facebook.com in 2004. In this case, the innovation created the need, instead of the need creating the innovation. This is what we were thinking about as we visited the place where they basically invented the camera phone.
So what did we discover the Japanese are developing there today: the simple answer is 5G.
Here are a few quick facts about 5G:
Data rates of tens of megabits per second for tens of thousands of users
Data rates of 100 megabits per second for metropolitan areas
1 Gb per second simultaneously to many workers on the same office floor
Several hundreds of thousands of simultaneous connections for wireless sensors
Again, it is hard to know exactly what people will do with this, but here is their vision of the year 2020 with 5G
All my life I have abided by this plan. A plan involving a series of life goals to be completed in a particular order at a particular time with little variation. I am very much a perfectionist – refusing to accept any standard short of perfection and breaking at the seams when things stray out of my control. It is something that I found little fault in until I realized that it was actually getting in the way.
I grew up in Charlo, MT, a small town about an hour north of Missoula, MT. You can verify this with my parents, but I believe I got off to a good start – not getting into a lot of trouble growing up, smiling for pictures, and eating my fruits and veggies. Like most small-town kids, I was involved in a lot of school sanctioned activities. I stayed busy spiking volleyballs, dribbling basketballs, or leaping over hurdles after school. I was a part of several student groups aimed at developing various skills and helping the community – all while maintaining good grades. I had the support of my family, the tight-knit community, and all the hours invested into me by my teachers and coaches. When it came to my senior year of high school, I knew where and what I wanted to study before that notorious “last first day.” I was too proactive for my own good. I filled out as many scholarships that came my way to ensure I could afford my college education without taking out loans or burdening my parents. I received my high school diploma and was set to attend the University of Montana and study Marketing through the school of business administration in the Fall 2014.
Everything seemed to be going according to this meticulous plan I had my mind set on.
Although I know many non-traditionalists, adventurers, free spirts and the like that contest this idea entirely (and there is nothing wrong with that), I imagined my life following this ideal order in which I went to high school and graduated with good grades and big dreams for college. I would start college the following fall with an idea of what you wanted to study and make a career out of. I imagined meeting all kinds of people, growing as an individual, graduating 4+ years later, and stepping immediately into the ideal career the day after I receive my diploma. To date, my life has followed this plan. As I near the end of my college endeavors, I fully expected to make the later part regarding a career a reality.
Up until recently, I felt that I had to tailor my life to this rigid plan otherwise I wouldn’t succeed at getting where I want to be in my life. I would fail myself, my family, and everything that had gotten me to this point. I felt so constrained by this expectation I had put on myself to follow this plan exactly that the thought of not knowing exactly what I want to do with my life – let alone after college – was alarming. As you can imagine this was a HUGE obstacle in my plan. I assured myself that I would figure it out. I had to figure it out, but I was running out of time. Quickly the seams of my sanity pulled further and further apart with each passing day.
I finally realized that it didn’t have to be this way at the source of many great epiphanies – a long car ride.
It all bubbled to the surface after spending a much needed four-day weekend away from Missoula. On the ride home with my long-time boyfriend, we started talking about school and how we planned to turn our degrees into a career. As the conversation progressed, I realized that I don’t honestly know what I want to do with my life, and I probably won’t find my ideal job right after college.
The more I thought about it, the more ludicrous this expectation seemed to me. Not only did I come to terms with that fact that it’s okay to not know exactly what I want to do, but how could I possibly know what I want to do for the rest of my life? Why should I base the next 40-60+ years of my life on a mere 20 years of life experience and knowledge? I was fed up with the preconceived idea that I had to stick to the plan. I realized that it was unrealistic, and although it is a potentially suitable path, it is not the only path. I finally committed myself to being less of a perfectionist and letting life take its course.
I don’t know exactly what I want to do and that’s okay – but I’m not going to stop trying to figure it out. I want to be honest with myself and let go of the things I can’t control. I want to search for opportunities to grow and become more of the person I want to be – whether that be job opportunities, painting, internships, traveling, volunteer opportunities, or voicing my thoughts in my first blog post. I am a business student, but I don’t need a big corporation and paycheck for a satisfactory life. I don’t want to get washed up in something to big. I want to be purposeful and make an impact with the work I am passionate about. I want to network with people not because “a bigger network makes you a better prospect” but because I want to have genuine relationships and get to know others who are finding or have found themselves to. I want to be inspired by what I am doing. I’ve realized that there is so much more to life than simply making money and living for the weekends. If I want to accomplish these things, it is unlikely that I will get it all on the first try. So, I need to stop thinking I will.
This is the type of realization that everyone seems to come to at some time in their life – a series of “mid-life crises.” I have shared my quarterly life crisis in the hopes that it might inspire those of you that feel burdened by plans, expectations, social norms or whatever it might be to come to terms that sometimes it really doesn’t matter that much! Even more so, I wrote this for myself – to hold myself accountable and remind myself to let go and live a little looser.
I will always plan, but I have made a pact with myself to not be tied down by it. Someone once said, “Just because my path is different doesn’t mean I’m lost.” I haven’t always believed this, but I’ve decided to start thinking this way. Don’t be afraid to get lost occasionally and embrace your own journey.
Aspen Runkel is a student at the University of Montana pursuing a Bachelors of Science in Business Administration. When she graduates in May of 2018, she will have majored in Marketing with a certificate in Digital Marketing and a minor in Media Arts. She enjoys painting, cooking, DIY, and being active with sports, hiking, and traveling.
I was raised in a small town of a little over 200 people called Piedmont, South Dakota. I had to commute to the town of Sturgis (under 7,000 people) for high school where I had a class of 150 kids. I know this isn’t the smallest town anyone has ever been from, but still anytime I bring it up I’m sure I get the same responses. “Where is that? What did you even do? That sounds shitty”. I have always defended growing up in a small town because it is like having an embarrassing sibling, only you can make fun of them. However, today, I am going to stop trying to defend small towns and really list why I am proud to have grown up in a “shitty” small town.
Lacked Educational Opportunities
My high school was small, and the education was great, but we lacked opportunities that other students were exposed to. I have met students that have taken classes in fields of early engineering, business, and accounting all before coming to college. Some of my peers arrived to the University of Montana with 30+ credits already to their name. This simply wasn’t possible at my high school.
I cannot say I am glad that I didn’t have those opportunities, but in a way it made me apply myself more. I knew I was going to be applying to colleges against kids that had more opportunity, and that made me realize in order to do well you have to be intelligent. Growing up in a school system of that size teaches you how to work, and work hard enough to put yourself into the position that you want to be in. It taught me how to embrace an uphill battle, and I will always be proud of that.
“What are we gunna do?”
My town was extremely boring and nothing ever happened. Those words could have literally been 60% of all the words me and my friends have ever said to each other. Constantly we were waiting for something to happen. Always it was, “what movie is out this week? or who’s house are we going to?” Because there was never anything going on. It was mind numbing boredom at its best.
I am the most grateful for this, and I know that sounds crazy, but it taught me the most valuable of lessons. How to be patient. How to be able to wait for the things in life that you want, and also how to be happy with what you have. Also, because there is nothing ever going on, I came to understand that you have to seize every single opportunity that you have. Living in a small town will give you that perspective.
Living for the Weekend
Like almost every other small town in Midwestern America, the kids would drink on the weekends. There were very little opportunities for everyone to get together other than at a party. I knew numerous people that got tickets for underage drinking, on several occasions. I knew kids in high schools with DUI’s, and kids that probably didn’t know it, but had drinking problems. It has caused a lot of damage, from lost scholarships to lost lives.
This one may be a “silver lining in the cloud”, but again I am glad to have grown up in that. All because it allows you to see how “cool” it actually is to be the drunkest person at a party, and how the consequences of drinking can be much more severe than a hangover. I continually meet people who haven’t learned these lessons, and it is sad when they do because it is a lesson usually experienced and not witnessed.
Very Few People Have Made It
Whatever it is you want to do, if you are from a small town, chances are there are not going to be many connections readily available to you. For that reason many people go into what is a “safe and secure” job, or whatever industry is common around them. Doing what you want isn’t realistic because rarely do you know of someone who has “made it” in the industry you dream of. Unless, of course, they moved to a city where there are more connections. More people equals more opportunity. Small towns do not have those opportunities.
This taught me that in order to do what you truly want, you have to step outside of your comfort zone and just go for it. If things aren’t happening around you, make them happen or leave. In order to achieve the things you desire in life you have do things that make you nervous or even afraid sometimes. I am thankful for growing up in Piedmont, because I came to understand that if I didn’t leave there would be no point in pursuing my goals. Since first leaving, I have gone to a number of different places in pursuit of my dreams and it wouldn’t have been possible without leaving home for the first time.
For all of this, and more, I am immensely proud to have grown up in my small “shitty” town in South Dakota because it made me the person I am today, and taught me lessons in life that I believe are invaluable. Small towns may not have a lot material opportunity, but I am glad to be from one. I love my hometown, I love the people, and I would do it again if given the chance. GO SCOOPERS (Actual high school mascot).
Written By: Jesse Schuster
Jesse Schuster is a senior at the University of Montana, a snowboarding wannabee, and a “Scrubs” fanatic.
Hey y’all! My name is Hayley Bingham, I grew up in the suburbs of Dallas, Texas in a little town called Rockwall. I started playing golf when I was 13 years old and realized right away it was going to take me far. I played competitively and found myself in the position to play college golf so I started the process the summer after my junior year. I went on countless visits and met with players and coaches all trying to get me to their school. My last recruitment visit was to the University of Montana about three weeks before early signing. It was my last chance to really find what I was looking for and I did. Three weeks later I signed my National Letter of Intent and started calling myself a grizzly.
Throughout my four years of being a Griz, I found that being involved in a sport and trying to play at the next level takes courage and discipline. I had to make sacrifices when it came to friends, family, school and a social life. I found myself using my sport as an excuse to get out of going out with friends or taking 8AM classes, but I also realized that it was the reason I had missed out on a lot of things. This was only the beginning, my four years at UM taught me a lot of things about the kind of person I wanted to be, the kinds of people I wanted to surround myself with, and what hard work and dedication really got me.
So here are the 8 ways being a student-athlete has changed my life:
They tell you that you are a “student-athlete” but often you will feel being an athlete comes before being a student.
On my visit and all throughout my collegiate career, all of my advisors and coaches stressed that I was a student before I was an athlete. But there were times when I found myself having to pick one or the other just like everything else. At the end of the day, my time and energy went into my sport and everything that comes with being a student-athlete. This is just the way it goes, I had to find a way to balance school and golf. I can remember always having to do homework after 36 hole days and wondering how any of the information stayed in my head. To this day, I am still convinced that it didn’t!
Sports in college is one of the hardest things you will ever do!
Becoming a college athlete was one of this best moments of my life but nothing had prepared me for the road I was starting down. 6 AM workouts, 4:30 AM wake up calls to make it to the airport, traveling all day long, waking up to compete and then waking up to compete again. Doing all of these things while trying to stay up on school work and have a social life eventually starts to wear on your mindset and your body. I remember thinking nothing could get worse than high school athletics but I was wrong. It was a whole other ball game in college.
Wanting to move on can be normal
A couple times during my four years I thought about quitting or transferring. Things do get hard and sometimes when it seems like nothing is going your way this can seem like the easy way out. I had a coaching change after my freshman year and I thought about transferring but I was glad I stayed. My sophomore year I got injured in the second tournament of the season, ultimately stepping in a hole breaking my foot. I had a long recovery and got depressed and felt like I battled through it all on my own. There were times during my injury that I thought about quitting but I was really glad I didn’t! After my junior year I had another coaching change and wondered what else could happen? I was glad that I stayed for my senior year at UM because it was probably one of the best experiences of my life. So, I argue that anyone who is looking to step away or transfer should remember that they picked this university for a reason. Yes, things do get hard and everyone goes through slumps during their time as a college athlete but preserver through and it will be worth it.
You never take off that Uniform, everyone knows who you are
I believe that no matter where you go to school, if you are an athlete you are known. I found this out very quickly once I got to UM. I would go get dinner with some of my teammates and people would point at our poster and then point back at us. It was so awkward but people knew who we were. Even if they didn’t know us by name they recognized us and that made me think about the way that I carried myself.
Professors will think you have dropped their class, you missed that much school
For me, I can think of many times where I would miss up to two weeks of classes at a time. I can remember a specific time where I was in class one day and the professor didn’t call my name on the roll. I remember thinking it was bizarre but just waited until after class to bring it up. Once class was over, I went down to the professor and told her that she skipped me on the roll. Her response to me was that she just assumed that I had dropped the class because I hadn’t been there in almost two weeks. Everything got cleared up but it was one of the weirdest things that has ever happened to me.
Your team is your family, so embrace it!
No matter what, my team will always be a part of me and I consider them to be family. We went through so much together: wins, losses, losing and gaining teammates, losing and gaining coaches… the list goes on and on. No matter what we were there for each other and because of that we have a bond that can never be broken.
You will build some of the best relationships of your life
I have made some of the best friends from college golf. We get to go to so many places and meet so many different people that I have met people from all over the world. I am beyond thankful that college golf is the reason these people were brought into my life. If I could give anyone advice, it would be to cherish these relationships and make the best of this experience.
Once it’s over, it is over… there is no going back
College golf is over in the blink of an eye, it doesn’t always seem like it but it is. If there is one thing I have realized, it is that you have to give it your all, all of the time. Once you make that last putt on the last day of that tournament your collegiate career is over! I didn’t completely realize this until after the conference tournament was over and I was on the plane back to Missoula, Montana for the last time.
At the end of the day, college golf is probably one of the hardest things I have ever done, but if I had to go back and change it I would do it all the same. The experience was unlike anything I have ever been a part of and I will always cherish the memories I have made here. Thank you UM and thank you to all of my family, friends, coaches and teammates who put up with my crazy self along the way.
Fun loving, golf playing, sweet tea drinking southern girl
Everyone approaches college differently. Some people come to college for the social aspect, others for the academic enrichment, some for the life experience, and then there’s always a few folks who have no idea what they’re doing. Regardless of which category you fall into, there are plenty of decisions that must be made in order to shape your college experience.
What is success?
I’ve noticed a pretty common theme over the course of my time at the University of Montana. There’s a constant stigma surrounding what success is as a college student. How many meetings you have a week, how many clubs you’re in, how many credits you’re taking, if you have an internship, blah blah blahhh, the list goes on forever! Basically, it’s a competition to see how busy everyone else is and you’re the winner if you get the least amount of sleep. And let me tell you, that’s not a fun game to be playing! The reality is though, if you want to get the most out of your college experience, there’s not a whole lot of time to block in for things like eating and sleeping, let alone time to yourself, especially for those students that want that 4.0 GPA.
Does GPA really matter?
Basically, you have to make sacrifices in one area or another unless you want to be in school for 10 years, so it’s important to focus in on what matters. I’ve decided that through my experiences over the past two and a half years in school, GPA is most definitely not everything. I’ve had multiple internships and jobs throughout my college career in order to gain hands-on experience and gain on-the-job skills, and to be honest, my employers couldn’t care less about my GPA. And it’s not like my GPA is bad, or even below average, but it’s definitely not perfect!
When discussing GPA with business professionals and company owners, their responses have been shockingly consistent across the board: if you passed your classes and learned from them, GPA really doesn’t pull as much weight as one might think. Shocking, I know. To most employers your personality, interview and overall experience is what gets you a job, not a high GPA. A high grade point average is definitely a bonus and if you have it, you should flaunt it, but it’s not the end of the world if you can’t maintain an A average all 4 years.
Focus on real life experiences.
Personally, I’ve chosen to use my time in college to involve myself in activities that will help me grow as a person and become a more well-rounded individual. Not only do these extracurricular activities look great on a resume, but more than anything, the experiences I’ve gained through my involvement will help me in an interview and with on-the-job situations.
I feel as though I’ve learned more through my membership and leadership roles in organizations such as student senate, my sorority, marketing clubs, internships, and many others, than I possibly could have learned by solely sitting in a classroom. I can’t emphasize enough how beneficial these outside activities have been on both a personal and professional level. In order to take advantage of these leadership and developmental opportunities it is impossible for me to achieve a 4.0 while maintaining membership in these clubs and working two jobs. This is the sacrifice I’ve chosen to make. For those of you that can manage such a feat, more power to you! But personally, I feel that I’ve gained so much more by choosing to participate in as much as possible than I ever would have choosing to spend that time reading a text book.
This tactic definitely doesn’t work for every major or every job field, but if you think about it, a 4.0 only goes so far if you can’t communicate with people or understand how to effectively problem solve.
Find your passion and do what makes you happy.
The point is, do what you’re passionate about. College is a time to explore and figure out what matters to you on a personal level. Don’t waste this opportunity by not going to class, but on the flip side, don’t waste it by choosing to study 24 hours a day either. Join clubs, find a fun job, hang out with new people, and just involve yourself. You get out of college what you choose to put into it, so take advantage of the opportunities presented to you.
Have fun and think about the things that truly benefit your future and make you happy.
I’d love to hear your feedback and opinions on the subject of GPA and extracurriculars. Comment below and share some stories about your college experience!