Brooks Raiford discusses the challenges of balancing an academic course load with the responsibilities of Student Government. Interview on April 19, 2012. (1:57)


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I really let my student involvement and activity get in the way of my academics 00:00:00.000 - 00:00:04.459
and I can't undo that but at the time I was so involved and really enjoyed being in the mix 00:00:04.459 - 00:00:10.271
that I let school slide and I let my load go down and I didn't finish on time. 00:00:10.271 - 00:00:16.088
So '86 to '90 was my four-year stint here as a full time undergraduate, 00:00:16.088 - 00:00:22.708
so I should have graduated with my class in 1990, 00:00:22.708 - 00:00:25.603
but by the time that spring semester rolled around 00:00:25.603 - 00:00:27.591
I was the equivalent of about a semester's worth of hours shy of a degree. 00:00:27.591 - 00:00:33.190
So I had taken a job at that time and thought well, I'll come back 00:00:33.190 - 00:00:36.774
and do some night classes and get this knocked out. 00:00:36.774 - 00:00:39.521
Easier said than done. 00:00:39.521 - 00:00:41.130
First of all the job required some travel, that made it hard, since most of the evening classes are one night a week 00:00:41.130 - 00:00:45.983
and if you miss one you've missed a big chunk of the course. 00:00:45.983 - 00:00:48.680
So I really struggled to come back over a period of several years and get the course here and the course there to finish up. 00:00:48.680 - 00:00:56.717
So I regret not graduating with my class, 00:00:56.717 - 00:00:59.311
I regret that it took me longer to finish than I wish it had, 00:00:59.311 - 00:01:02.258
and I know full well it was because I was so engaged in what was going on. 00:01:02.258 - 00:01:06.891
This whole Valvano and chancellor thing was layered on top of what was already an extremely involved student life, 00:01:06.891 - 00:01:14.630
so I just didn't manage it as well as I should have. 00:01:14.630 - 00:01:18.651
I often talk to student leaders along the way, both in the fraternity, which I still advise, 00:01:18.651 - 00:01:23.813
and even the current-. The newly elected student body president is a college of humanities student 00:01:23.813 - 00:01:30.193
so I've had a chance to get to know him and meet him, 00:01:30.193 - 00:01:32.283
and I've had that conversation with him: 00:01:32.283 - 00:01:34.619
As smart as you are, as great as your grades may be, and as on top of the world as you might be, 00:01:34.619 - 00:01:39.413
it is very easy to suddenly find yourself behind, and don't let that happen 00:01:39.413 - 00:01:43.456
because it's hard to make that up quickly and you end up being unable to go back and undo it later. 00:01:43.456 - 00:01:50.085

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