Carpe Diem

"I'd like to thank Emma Simson, past SGA president, Andrew Friedson, incoming SGA president. You might ask why I thank these people. I just want to show that I respect Presidents." House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD), at the commencement for the University of Maryland-College Park


As I reflect on Dr. Leiker’s retirement, I also reflect on my graduation from East Kentwood High School two years ago today: lining up inside the school (494 graduates made that line quite long and winding!), the Sun setting behind the bleachers, Mr. Beel reading his top-ten list of pieces of advice, the choir and band (the latter of which I was a part) performing, walking across the ‘stage,’ the all-night party, and then coming home to see Swifty lying on the bed waiting to greet me.

High school wasn’t a particularly remarkable time for me. Sure, EK is a Blue Ribbon School, and sure, I did get involved in a few extracurriculars - Band, Quiz Bowl, and American Political Thought. Yes, our bands are pretty good - amazing, I’d say - and Quiz Bowl did go to the state tournament during my junior year. And the American Political Thought team finished third in the state.

Still, one critical element was missing from my life: A strong network of friends.

As I mark two years as an alumnus of East Kentwood, I recall an essay I wrote for my Freshman Composition class at CMU in December of 2005 - my last of the class - noting the changes I had undergone since graduating from EK six months earlier. These changes include schedule changes (i.e. getting up at 10:30 instead of 6:30!), the fact that I don’t have parents there to watch me (and how that can be a double-edged sword), and the many new friends I have made since coming to college.

Since writing and turning in that essay, I have noticed something else that’s much different: I am much more extroverted now than I was in high school, and I have many more friends now than I dreamed I would You see, I came to CMU as just another person, not intent on much more than getting a degree in political science and accounting, then graduating and entering the world of work as ready as one can be.

Yet from the time I entered Leadership Safari, a five-day program for entering freshmen at CMU, I came out of my shell. Gone was the old Scott Urbanowski, introverted and in many ways self-centered; in was the new Scott Urbanowski, maybe not quite ready to take on the world, but sure as heck ready to make this world a better place.

Less than a month after Safari ended, I found myself sitting in Dow Science Complex, representing the biggest residence hall on campus in the Student Government Association. All the while I was beginning my involvement with the College Democrats at CMU, of which I would later become Communications Director and now Blogmaster.

As I look back at the last two years, I reflect on some of the many people I have met at CMU: ICDP leaders; Mark Brewer; numerous political candidates; Bishop Carlson; Dick Enberg (Class of 1957); David McCullough; and Cedar and Kyle, twins who lived down the hall from me in my freshman year. And that's just the tip of the iceberg.

Not bad for a kid who, just two years ago, seemed intent on just going to college for four years, getting a degree, and moving on into the ‘real world.’

So as I consider the many changes during my life over the last 730 days, I would like to thank those of you who have entered my life - both offline and online. My life is much richer for knowing you. I especially want to congratulate Emily, Coree, Rob, and everyone else I’ve known from CMU who graduated earlier this month.

And to everyone who reads this, I encourage you to take the opportunity every so often to appreciate what you have in life: Friends, family, a blogosphere ;-) . And as any commencement speaker would tell you, seize the day! "Carpe Diem!" Whether through politics or community involvement or business, each of us has a chance to make this world a better place. I hope and pray for the courage to dedicate my life to doing so. Won't you?

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