COLUMN: An interview with the president, tips for a successful year

Katja Benz, Columnist

I had the pleasure of interviewing the university president, Dr. David Glassman, Friday night at the Silent Headphone Party. It is his last year as president of the university.

In the interview, Glassman described college, in his own experience and in general, as a journey. “I think it’s an adventure as well,” Glassman said. “And I think it’s a true journey. It’s a journey of growth. It’s a journey of becoming part of a bigger community, and it’s a journey towards one’s success.”

As someone that had an interesting college experience, saying that college is a journey is almost an understatement. I never expected to take a gap year, graduate at 23, or to be a transfer student. Even though I wouldn’t change anything for the world, there’s a part of me that hoped that my college experience turned out differently.

I did everything that all the cliche YouTube videos and Instagram reels told me to do. I bought cute furniture for my room, joined clubs (or in my case, got two jobs), talked to people in my classes and attended all the events that EIU had to offer.

However, for the first month, it was a little hard for me to make friends. I was asking people to meet up, but after the first time we met, there was not a lot of reciprocation in hanging out a second time. I will acknowledge that part of that was my fault. I usually didn’t follow up, but I also wondered why the other people I reached out to didn’t reach out to me in return. It seemed like I was going to community college all over again.

Even though these relationships may not have blossomed like I wanted to (at either school), I ended up finding meaningful relationships and experiences elsewhere while I was in college.

While interviewing Glassman, he described his last year as bittersweet. He particularly is enjoying that campus is closer together as the COVID-19 pandemic is winding down. Unfortunately, many (if not all) of Eastern’s student population was affected by the pandemic in some way. I took a gap year during the 2020-2021 school year whereas other student’s families may have suffered from the virus.

On a good note, the pandemic seems to be mostly behind us. Even with that, I feel like I am still trying to gain the experiences I never got. For example, all of the events are aimed for new students, which is something that I no longer am.

Even though I still went to the events, I felt out of place- like I wasn’t supposed to be there. I was nervous and I still am about every new school year so, it’s okay if you are too. If you see people making friends more quickly than you, it’s probably just for Instagram and to put up a show.

I hope that I can put myself out there a little more this year and take advantage of more things on campus now that everything seems more open.

As I was wrapping up my interview with Glassman, he said to do exactly that.

“Do all that you can to put yourself out there, get a little bit out of your comfort zone, and certainly meet as many people as possible and take advantage of everything we have at EIU,” Glassman said. “And not only will you have a great education, but you’ll enjoy your time here at EIU as well.”

Katja Benz is a senior English major. She can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].