SDSU experiences push graduate the extra mile

Keenan Watson Collegian Alumnus


 When l reflect on my time as a college student at SDSU, I try to find some life lessons that I learned during the last five years. One lesson that I learned can be best described by a famous poem by Robert Frost, titled “The Road Not Taken”. Halfway through my college career I was at a fork in the road, I had finally picked my major but I was just coasting along with no particular direction. This was during a crucial time for me. What I accomplished during my time at SDSU would have significant impact on how successful I would be once I entered the real world. My current projection was that I would be doing the bare minimum to get a degree in four years with no imagination or any answer for “what next?” 

Fortunately, one on my close friends finally convinced me to join Delta Chi – a social men’s fraternity on campus. Upon getting to know my new brothers, I realized that I had been limiting myself by means of what I could accomplish during my short time as a college student. As a new member I was immediately pushed by the other members and our fraternity advisor to consider and apply for internships and world travel. Many of the other members were always going away for internships and study abroad programs, from traveling across West Africa or working in South America. They said that despite that fact that it might take longer for them to graduate that their experiences taught them many valuable lessons that they couldn’t get in the classroom. 

Because of this encouragement, I can honestly say that I accomplished more during my fifth year then I did during my first four. During my last three semesters I went from Collegian columnist to opinion editor to the intern for the South Dakota Legislature, just to name a few. These experiences took me all the way to a conference in Chicago where I got to meet writers and editors from publication like the New York Times to the dinner table of South Dakota Governor Daugaard at the state capitol in Pierre. These experiences widened my horizons of what I was capable of. 

Now when I debated my next course of action as a college graduate finding a career in a poor economy with a bachelor’s in English I reflected on what I learned during all of these experiences. What I came to realize is the majority of our limits are the ones that we place on ourselves. My advice to current college students id that the next time they see an advertisement for a student group, internship, or any other kind of opportunity that they venture off from the easier and predictable path to test their limits because they will most likely surprise themselves.

Because of my experiences I have decided not to settle for some run-of-the-mill job in a cubicle prison cell. I am going to find a teaching job in another country on the other side of world. I am doing so because it will challenge me but it will be worth it. Because it will pay dividends for me down the road in more ways than I realize. I think back to the end of Robert Frost’s poem and how true it is for anyone who goes the extra mile, “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I, I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.”

Keenan Watson formerly worked as the opinion editor and a columnist at The Collegian