Quote #12 – Advice from Build-A-Bear

Corey, the International Marketing Intern, and I have had meetings with a lot of people at Build-A-Bear Workshop over the past two weeks (I cannot believe my internship is now 20% over!) in an effort to learn more about who works at the company, how Build-A-Bear operates, how the international team fits together, our own career paths, etc.  It’s really a great opportunity.  One of the questions we have asked is for advice or wisdom, based on personal experience or working at Build-A-Bear.  Today, the following quote was offered, which I found particularly meaningful as I struggle with letting go of my past summers and moving forward – a.k.a. “growing up”.

“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”
– Soren Kierkegaard

Soren Kierkegaard was a Danish Philosopher and Theologian, generally recognized as the first existentialist philosopher.  He lived 1813-1855.

Of course, general advice has also consisted of find your passion, don’t just work for money – actually enjoy what you do and who you work with, etc.  The standard “work smart” and “work hard” that I got through Boy Scout experiences has continued at Build-A-Bear as well.

My internship has been great so far and I love the work that I am doing.  Unlike the stereotypical stories of interns filing papers all day, I believe that the projects I am working on are actually affecting the operations of the company.  Build-A-Bear really does believe in its people as key to the company’s success and I have been amazed at how much they seek to develop the interns.  I could not be luckier this summer.

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Undergraduate Graduation

It has been several days since I’ve posted anything on here.  Life has been absolutely insane getting ready for graduating, preparing to come back home (and I am back in St. Louis now).  Hopefully, this summer will provide opportunities for sharing and reflection.

On Saturday, June 5, 2010, I walked across the stage in the Ritchie Center at the University of Denver, received a diploma case (they mail diplomas 8-10 weeks later, but more on this to follow), was greeted by the Chancellor and the Provost, and had my 2010 white Arts & Humanities tassel moved from the right side of my hat to the left side.  I “graduated” the University of Denver!

I use quotes, because I technically did not get my diploma yet.  While I have completed all of the requirements for my Bachelor of Arts in International Studies degree, I will not receive a diploma until next year.  While my diploma for my BA will come at the same time as my MBA and will be dated 2011, I do and will continue to consider myself part of the Class of 2010.

Just for fun – and to share with those who are interested – I was recognized in the commencement program in the following ways:

  • Bachelor of Arts Degree (“Future Graduate”)
  • Departmental Distinction in International Studies
  • University Honors (only 46 students received the recognition/completed the requirements)
  • Mortar Board Senior Honor Society
  • Pioneer Award
  • Outstanding Senior Award

The ceremony was 2.5-3 hours long and while it did get hot towards the end, it was a great experience and I am happy that I participated.  Our speaker was the CEO of the Denver Health and Housing Authority.  Javi, Tucker, and I all sat together – even though it was not technically alphabetical order (at least we were within one letter and the same degree).  We had 1232 (I believe) students participating in the undergraduate commencement ceremony.

After the ceremony, Leslie, David, Brittany, Dani and I had a joint graduation celebration lunch at Hillel with our families.  It was a good time with families and food and a slideshow that Leslie made.

The week leading up to graduation was spent cleaning my apartment and getting ready to come home mixed in with time spent with my family (who were in Denver) and time celebrating and reminiscing with my DU friends.  My college experience has been phenomenal, unbelievable, amazing – use any fantastic sounding word and it will probably describe how happy I am with the last four years.  I have learned so much, become such a better person, met amazing people, done things that I never thought I would want to do or have the opportunity to do.  My undergraduate experience has exceeded all of my expectations – in large part because of the amazing people I have met and friendships I have built.

I am very happy that I will be returning to Denver next year for my MBA.  I am worried that it will be different and strange.  The dynamic of most of my good friends no longer being students at DU will certainly take some getting used to.  I am happy that some of them will still be in Denver, but obviously our relationships will shift and change.  I hope that we all stay in touch and that the people I cherish will remain among my best friends for a lifetime.

I do not think that the social dynamic changes have fully hit me yet.  As I went to graduation parties and hung out with friends on Saturday after the ceremony, I reflected that I have really “grown up” with many of these people.  I am a much different person today than I was four years ago – and definitely a better person.  It was strange to realize just how much of an affect each person has had on me over the last four years.  Even people with whom I was never close or did not always get along with influence my experience and I (now) appreciate that.

I do not like goodbyes.  They seem too final and I hope that many who were a part of my (undergraduate) college experience continue to be involved in my life.  Therefore, I will say “see you later!”

Me, Steven, Ronnie, and Javi before the ceremony

Me and my dad before the ceremony

Me, Stuart (my brother), Trisa, Javi, and Dario (Javi's brother) after the graduation ceremony

For more pictures of graduation, check out my Facebook photo album.  DU  posted this story on their news site about graduation.

Thank you to everyone who has been a part of my life these last four years!  Stay in touch!  I will cherish you forever!

Quote #7 – Life

I appreciate my friends and the conversations we have.  I also understand that we all have different experiences and come from different places.  These unique qualities make us all special.  I hope to cherish each and every person and all that makes them whole.

The following quote is my own:

“Sometimes life is more complicated than you wish it was – but through good friends, you can find life’s true meaning.”