We all reach milemarks in our lives. One of the biggest ones, maybe the biggest one I've hit so far is graduation from college! It took me a little longer than I planned (5 years instead of 4), but I feel a tremendous sense of accomplishment.
When I first started at The University of Montana I had no idea how much I would end up cramming into 5 years. My first year was fairly uneventful. I went to school, went to work, went to the gym and watched wayyyyy too much Buffy the Vampire Slayer and That 70's Show. My second year turned my life on its head, though. I made the decision to join the UM Alpine Ski Racing Club, where I had some of the best times I had in college. I would encourage all of you to join some sort of collegiate club. The adventures you'll have and the people you'll have them with will be well worth the commitment! Unfortunately this didn't carry all the way through college (It's way harder to keep a ski team going in Missoula than you would think!), but the 3 years I did get were incredible. I'll always remember those times full of hot tubbing, warm beer and good friends.
The next thing that happened in my second year was something that I hold was my best decision in college. It took some convincing, but my good buddy from high school, Ryan Watson, finally convinced me to join an organization trying to make a comeback after a near 10-year absence from the UM campus by the name of Phi Delta Theta. This organization quickly changed from a resume building experience into a brotherhood that would take over my life. I met friends I'm sure I will stay in touch with for the rest of my life. It made me more confident, more social, more of a leader, more organized and, I think, more of a brother than I had ever been or would have ever been without it. It wasn't all unicorns and rainbows. I sat through some painfully long and boring meetings, dealt with some very hard times, such as losing 2 brothers in one year, but the brothers of Phi Delta Theta MT Alpha always found a way to bring each other through it. I met people that I consider incredible examples of what I would like to become. Kyle Anderson showed what true brotherhood is, even after losing his son, and became one of the biggest influences on all our lives. Jess Munroe was always there no matter what we needed. I couldn't have asked for a better brother and faculty advisor. There were countless others, too many to list, that made my time as a Phi Delt active so amazing. I owe them everything.
I packed so much into 5 years. I worked way too many jobs, had way too much fun, stayed up all night to finish way too many videos and made way too many questionable decisions, but through it all I became someone I never would have been without all that. Thank you too my Phi Delt brothers, my ski team, my professors and classmates, and everyone else who made my college experience so amazing.