Letter to my younger self

Robbie Triano

Dear Robbie,

If you’re reading this right now, I want to let you know you’re just one week away from graduating college. I know, I can’t believe it either. 

You narrowly skated by academically your junior and senior years, but somehow you made it alive (hopefully. You still have one more class, so make sure you pass that). But I’m here to tell you everything that will happen these next four years before mom and dad help set up your dorm room and give one big goodbye hug.

Before that, I want to let you know where you are now. You’re currently the sports editor of the Grand Valley Lanthorn. I’d tell you some more boring details about the job description, but I know you would rather hear the good parts.

You’re going to have all-access to whatever Laker sporting you want to. Want to be on the sidelines during every home football game? No problem. I know you love basketball, and guess what? You get to sit courtside and get to pick apart coach Ric Wesley’s brain twice a week. How awesome is that? 

While your Division I friends are going give you shit for being DII, don’t listen to them. The athletics at GVSU are going to blow away your expectations. The women’s soccer team are going to make nine goal blowouts seem like a usual occurrence. Coach Mitchell’s football program is going make you realize GVSU is a legitimate NFL pro factory.

Simply put, GVSU is going to make winning National Championships appear easy.

But you’re not going to realize this until deep into your college career.

The date is Saturday, Sept. 13, 2014. The football team is playing their first home game of the season against Ohio Dominican. At the time, this will be your third week at GVSU as a naive, little freshman who just joined a fraternity the day prior. 

Before the game, you’re going to be tailgating with your new friends and partying for a couple of hours with the full expectation of going to the game. But when you ask the upperclassmen if they’re going to the game, they’re going to say something you’ll never forget.

“Go to the game?” 

“Why would we leave the party?”

“You know GVSU is Division II, right?”

Even though you really wanted to be the vocal leader of the student section like you were in high school, you’re going to play cool and act like you never wanted to go in the first place. 

They’re going to make you think being Division II means you’re school isn’t worth it.

Sadly, you’re going to have those quotes stuck in your head for your first two years and never go to a single game. You’re going to think you’re too cool for GVSU athletics. Instead, you’ll be too focused on partying and being a social butterfly. 

Now, I want you to listen to me. Those guys that said that to you? They’re wrong. Sadly, you’ll learn to realize people like them are the reason why GVSU’s school spirit is not where it should be. 

But then you’ll find out about an opening as a sports reporter with the Lanthorn your junior year. At that moment, you’ll realize GVSU actually has a newspaper. When you’re a freshman, make sure to pick up a copy every time it comes out.

I say that because you’ll soon realize how much work, love and passion goes into each and every issue. Many dedicated (and highly underpaid) students, just like yourself, will be devoting a major part of their week reporting, writing and editing stories. 

This dedication is going to relate to those of all the student athletes here at GVSU. You’re going to realize the dedication and passion each and every player, coach and assistant has for their program. There’s nothing more these people want to do than to succeed. 

Then going to your senior year, the Lanthorn hires you to sports editor. You’re going to love it at first.

Then a week goes by, and you’re going to call your mom crying about how much you want to quit. Your days of partying are over. All of your hard work will be unappreciated. 

Take this advice: Don’t quit. Whatever you do, don’t quit. 

Because not only are you going to fall even more in love with GVSU and their athletics. 

But most importantly, you’re going to meet some of your best friends in the entire world. 

Arpan, Jenna, Becky and Frye.

These people are going to turn into your family. You’re going to spend considerably more time with them in the office than even your real family. 

So here’s what I’m saying: It doesn’t matter what profession you’re in. Maybe you’re an engineering student reading this. Doesn’t matter. 

Because when it’s all said and done, and when it’s time to move on with life, the thing you’re going to remember most is the people you’ve met and the things you’ve accomplished.