Life At Ripon – Jacob Sahr ’16

Chapter 3: People and Connections

[Editor’s Note: Chuchen Tan ’16, Sara Driebel ’16, and Jacob Sahr ’16 are writing rotating monthly entries for the Ripon College Newsletter chronicling their senior year experiences. We hope you enjoy their perspectives on Life At Ripon!]

Let’s look at some numbers: 0.2 years; 2.7 months; 11.4 weeks; 79 days; 1,916 hours; 114,976 minutes; or 6,898,550 seconds. This is how much time all seniors have until graduation from the time this was written – 25 February at 2:45 p.m. — but who’s counting? I will tell you who is counting. It is every senior who is excited to graduate and start a new adventure, every senior who is dreading stepping into the real world, every senior who is counting down the last moments with the close friends they have made over the past four years, and every senior who simply wants to be done. It may be a fitting analogy for us seniors getting ready to graduate to say that we are coming to the end of the tunnel. We see the light, but we are not quite sure if the light is from an oncoming train — named Reality — that is about to hit us with no reservations, or if it is the gleaming light of joy, the gleaming light of an opportunistic future. The fact of the matter is that we do not have much time until we find out, until we grab our diplomas in a few short months from the top of that stage, that we are truly the masters of our destiny, relying on all the skills, values and education that will guide us in perpetuity.

Understanding how time is brutish and unforgiving, it is important for me, and all of us seniors, to make the most of the time left. After attending Mark Green’s presentation and reception here at Ripon College recently, I reflected on a particular message he delivered to the students attentively gathered around him. What he provided us was a guiding principle that we can build while in college and then carry through the rest of our lives. This principle was that the connections we make and the networks we establish are immensely important in achieving one’s ambitions and goals.

After hearing this, I began to realize how fortunate I have been over the past four years to have had the professors whom I have had – many acting as mentors for my future aspirations; the faculty who have, on numerous occasions, made my day; the ROTC cadre who have provided me the professional guidance and growth I will need in the near future; and the network of close friends I have had along the way.

In a few short sentences, I would like to recognize certain individuals who have had a particular importance in my time here at Ripon College — mentoring me, lifting me up, or guiding me toward success. First, Dr. Lamont Colucci has been a phenomenal professor and mentor. He has graciously provided time to mentor me toward my future aspirations, pushed me to succeed in my academics, and been a substantial help along with numerous things along the way.

Second, Pearl and Mary, who work in the Commons for Sodexo, have been beacons of unconditional kindness and happiness during my tenure at Ripon. Their uplifting conversations every single morning I went to breakfast after ROTC physical training, whether it was a good day or bad day, put a smile on my face. Without Pearl and Mary’s unconditional care during every meal I interacted with them, my experience would not have been the same.

For my ROTC cadre, I have been fortunate to serve as a cadet under multiple different cadre members. Some of the most influential cadre include MSG Jesse Crane, who molded me as a new cadet my freshman and sophomore year, being the foundational instructor for who I am today. Although he arrived in Ripon during winter break and thus was able to spend only one semester as my cadre, SFC Jeremy Eaton has been influential in refining my leadership, Army knowledge and character in preparation for my approaching commissioning. As he already has begun to mentor me on professional development, come May SFC will have invaluably influenced my leadership ability.

Lastly, the many close friends who have made my time at Ripon memorable make up a long list. To name just a few: Alex Kazmierski ’17, Colin Stewart ’16, Abi Quackenboss ’15, Nate Faucett ’19, Jon Noel ’16 and Taylor Corkran ’18 have all, in various ways, been an important part of my college career. Of course, there are many names that I am leaving out, such as all the ROTC cadets with whom I have endured many PTs and training events, and my fraternity brothers with whom I have a bond like no other. I would also like to include my parents who have always been there for guidance when I need it. They have been my foundation and backbone to my success, and I am forever grateful.

Another important individual who has been my anchor and angel throughout these last four years is my fiancée, Michaela Grow. In fact, it was in my last blog I announced that I had gotten engaged this fall. She has calmed me down during many stress freak-outs, final exam breakdowns, and demoralizing mountains of daunting tasks. She stuck through my brashness and stress-induced shortness, lifting me up like the angel she is, while being there for many of the most memorable experiences of my college career — such as fraternity formal, holiday weekends, military balls and award ceremonies. The unfortunate thing is, we have not been able to make any progress on wedding planning because we are waiting on the Army to announce when I will be going to their advance training, Infantry BOLC–Basic Officer Leader Course. Once we get this information (a tentative projection being mid-March), then we can begin planning our lives together. Despite our lack of wedding planning, we are embattled in the real debate as to whether we should get a cat or a dog (and which breed on top of that). I’m confident that I will win this battle, and a German Shepard puppy will be in our near future.

While I look back on my progression and growth, I am happy to see the growth the College has made. In particular, kudos to Sodexo on making great strides this semester to the food quality and choice, making our lives here more enjoyable. Along with this, the College has taken the time to hear many students’ views, and I sincerely hope the College continues to be responsive to the student body. As my time comes to an end at Ripon, just as the winter is coming to an end – knock on wood – I revel in the fact that I will not have to worry about walking to class or Storzer on sheets of ice or slide down the sidewalk hill by Scott while still half asleep. Additionally, although I loved my dorm room, my decorated cinder block box, I am grateful to look forward to my own house or apartment, and I am looking forward to controlling my own thermostat. Lastly, I am excited to confront the real-world hardships and stress, rather than the never-ending flow of mind-numbing homework.

In closing, I am humbled by the many factors and people that contributed toward my fortunes and success at Ripon College. I am anticipating finishing this semester strong, commissioning into the Army in May, and starting my military career this summer. Much of the credit to whom I have become and what I have done goes to those who have been my support throughout my time here. Here’s to the future. Onward and upward!

Jacob Sahr ’16

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