Bookends: 16 weeks later

GVL/Kevin Sielaff
Rodney Washington

GVL/Kevin Sielaff Rodney Washington

Alyssa Rettelle

It’s a known fact that people change throughout their lifetimes, and especially so when they’re in college. While change is inevitable throughout four years of schooling, it’s surprising the changes that can happen in the matter of one semester.

In the Sept. 11 issue, the Lanthorn interviewed a freshman and a senior at the beginning of this semester and have interviewed them again now, to see how much things have changed.

Olivia Corder is a freshman at Grand Valley this semester. She was born in Plymouth-Canton, Mich., and went to Monroe, Wis., for high school. She chose to come to Grand Valley State University because she had family here and had heard a lot of great things about the school. When she enrolled, she declared her major as social work and was debating to add a minor of sociology.

“I stayed with social work as my major,” she said, when asked if that had changed. “I haven’t added sociology as a minor yet, though, I was going to look over everything again and try to make a decision over the coming break.”

While she had said her first week at GVSU was awesome, she said being around people all the time was a hard thing to get adjusted to, as well as figuring out how meals worked on campus. She’s glad that both of these things have changed.

“I’ve definitely gotten used to the people,” she said. “I work for campus dining and that has really helped in that aspect since it’s part of my job to be around people. And I’ve gotten over my nervousness about meals. I made it a lot harder than it had to be, it turns out.”

That didn’t end up being the hardest thing for her to adjust to though. Instead, she said adjusting to the amount of time to devote to studying and working outside of class was difficult, but she has no major worries thus far.

In high school, Corder was very involved in the theatre program, so she was hoping to get involved with that and the swim club throughout the semester, but it turns out she found something else she enjoys.

“I never got involved in the swim club or theatre,” Corder said. “I did, however, start going to Anime club regularly, and I’ve attended a few of the gatherings outside of the club. In fact, we recently took a three day trip to Detroit for a convention. That was really fun. I also started going to the climbing center every once in a while.”

After nearly 16 weeks, Corder says she’s definitely enjoying her time at GVSU.

“I am for sure enjoying Grand Valley,” she said. “My favorite thing about being here is actually the thing I thought would take forever to get used to: the people. It’s really easy to just start talking to someone who is standing next to you or sitting at the same table.”

While she’s enjoying her time here, there is one thing she wishes she would have done differently.

“I would change how much time I spent in my dorm,” she said. “I didn’t come out a lot and as a result, I don’t quite know the people in my dorm as well as I would like to.”

Overall though she was happy with her classes this semester and how they’ve gone. Corder said she’s looking forward to next semester.

Rodney Vincent Washington II is from Chicago, Ill., and he thought he knew what he wanted to do when he came to GVSU as a freshman. Now, can consider himself an alumnus.

As a freshman, Washington came to GVSU on a full scholarship for track and declared his major as criminal justice. He decided, however, that his real dream and goal is to become an A-List Hollywood actor. At the start of the semester, his plans were to head to Los Angeles to begin auditions, but now, he’s headed elsewhere.

“I am moving back to Chicago to take classes for a year at Second City Improv, a very reputable performance school that has birthed some of the greats,” Washington said.

Some notable celebrities that spent time at Second City are Tina Fey, Steve Carell, Bill Murray, Mike Myers and Dan Aykroyd.

When he was asked what his goal for the semester was, he said it was just to graduate with as little resistance as possible, and he succeeded.

“I am proud to announce a successful completion of my undergraduate requirements,” Washington said. “Nothing that’s worth something comes without a journey. I wouldn’t change it for the world. I was extremely blessed with professors that love me and want me to succeed. A little help never hurt.”

He wasn’t nervous at the beginning of the semester for graduation and he still isn’t now.

“I’m never nervous. With every challenge comes the opportunity for advancement in something,” Washington said. “I’m overly excited to graduate. I can’t wait to dance across that stage. You know I have to make a lasting impression everywhere I go. If you want to be remembered, you have to make people remember you.”

Looking back on his four years at GVSU, Washington reflected on how his time as a Laker has shaped his future.

“It’s been rough, but experience is the best teacher. I’ve learned so much about myself and who I am and what I want to be,” Washington said. “Without Grand Valley, I wouldn’t have a direction. I’d probably be stuck on the west-side of Chicago like so many others destined for a life of just missing their full potential. I thank God for this university and all it has challenged me with.”

With that, he had one bit of advice for students, whether they’re freshman or about-to-be graduates in the spring:

“The best advice I can give to any student is to dig in and get it done,” Washington said. “Don’t procrastinate. The more you do in advance, the less stress you’ll have come week 16.”