Life After Ripon – Kyle Ruedinger ’13

Chapter 5: Spring and Summer Plans, and How I Chose Ripon

[Editor’s Note: Kyle Ruedinger ’13, Amy Browender ’13, Elizabeth Brown ’13, and Jessie Lillis ’13 are writing alternating monthly entries for the Ripon College Newsletter chronicling their post-graduation experiences. We hope you enjoy their perspectives on Life After Ripon!]

The snow has melted, the sun is shining, and daily temperatures have been above freezing for a week straight. Spring is indeed on its way. For a while it was a joke that we needed to rename spring break “Winter Break” in honor of the dominant weather patterns. Thankfully, Mother Nature has changed for the better. A week off for rest and recovery was well-needed at this point in the semester. Unfortunately, our professors did not want us to be too diverged from our studies, so we had three exams the first week back and two more the following week. In fact, the same professor who felt the urge to immediately announce the rescheduled class on our cold day back in January also kindly reminded us of our upcoming exam via email the day break ended. They most certainly keep us attentive to the schedule.

Things will change drastically in mid-May when my daily routine changes from being dictated to me back to having some more control over how my time is spent. This summer, I have secured employment with a small hospital as well as a few part time gigs on the side. I am greatly looking forward to putting my new skills to work and expand on more clinical experience without having to sit in class 40 hours a week. Hopefully it will be a nice change of pace!

Madison has been booming lately between the warmer weather, increased sunshine, and (at the time I’m writing this) the Men’s Basketball team winning their way into the elite eight. Hopefully as you’re reading this they have progressed further. But if not, there is always next year, right? And let’s not forget that football season is creeping up on us quickly! Though we should probably get through opening day and the start of baseball season first. I heard an advertisement on the radio from a local grocery store announcing meat prices and reminding us that grilling season is nearly upon us. With temperatures in the sixties this weekend, my roommate and I will be taking full advantage of getting warmed up for tailgating season. We are heading down to a Milwaukee Brewer’s game in a few weeks.

Changing gears back to school…it is hard for me to believe that next month will mark an entire year since my departure from Ripon College. Some days it feels like I just left and other days it seems like I have not been at Ripon for ages. Part of that is perhaps the varying moods graduate students experience being constantly busy; collectively, the days fly by but sometimes individually each day drags on and on and on. It is difficult to fathom the fact I am almost a quarter of the way to a doctoral degree! Our final exams in May end the week before Ripon graduation, and I am hoping to make the drive up to catch up with old friends. I cannot think of a better way to spend the first weekend of freedom from school than to head north and see some of the people that made the previous four years so special.

For some odd reason I was deleting old emails the other evening, and I clicked into my “college emails” folder which I had not opened since 2009. In it I perused old correspondence with my college admissions counselors, mainly Ripon and another ACM school. Initially my college list had been quite long but after visiting schools and examining them further, I quickly narrowed my choice down to two very similar small liberal arts schools, both part of the ACM. I subconsciously tucked the decision away for over four months waiting until the last minute.

As some of you may know, I almost did not attend Ripon. I visited three times (the admission office loved me). The final pull that I had towards Ripon was when a certain professor in Farr Hall gave me over an hour one day to discuss everything on my mind, and I was not even a student yet!

Looking back on all the experiences I had and how Ripon has helped propel me to where I am today, I am so glad I made the decision I did. My first year at Ripon in particular truly began to instill many of the life skills that I rely on heavily today. A few of my now current classmates also attended small schools like Ripon, and we all seem to share a special connection and appreciation for our opportunities. Experiences which help us to appreciate the little things in life, those things which matter the most. I do not miss Ripon for the place that it is, I miss Ripon for the people that it has.

Work hard at what you love while making a positive difference in this world. And remember to spend time strengthening relationships with your friends and family. Thanks for reading my posts for the last year.

Kyle Ruedinger ’13
[email protected]

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