Balancing Responsibilities

Brooks Raiford discusses the challenges of balancing an academic course load with the responsibilities of Student Government.

Interview on 2012-04-19


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