October 25, 2011

Oh Hey Mikhail….glad you could make it.

“Life is too short to wake up in the morning with regrets, so love the people who treat you right, forget about the ones who don’t, and believe that everything happens for a reason. If you get a chance, take it. If it changes your life, let it. Nobody said life would be easy, they just promised it would be worth it.” 

                                                 – Harvey Mackay

I apologize for being M.I.A. for the past few weeks. I have been following Harvey Mackay’s advice above and he is right. Life has not been easy, but it has been worth it. In the time between my last blog post and this one, I was busy travelling to Philadelphia, taking five midterm exams, completing four midterm papers, preparing for two in-class presentations, planning four floor programs for my residents to attend, delivering bagels, celebrating homecoming, hobnobbing with a hall full of fancy alumni, telling the Board of Trustees what I think, going through a mid-semester training program as an RA, sitting in the presence of greatness  and eating lots of Mexican food. Sometimes I have to commend myself for all the unbelievable multitasking that goes on in my life. But most of the time, I have to smack myself on the head and remind myself not to put stuff off until the last minute, which results in me having to do all that multitasking in the first place.

So what fun things have I been up to recently? Here’s a snapshot.

Last week, Lafayette played host to Mikhail Gorbachev. For any prospective students reading this and scratching their heads in confusion, go look up who he is. As a millennial, I find it fascinating to be able to hear a talk by a man who was responsible for shaping the world into what it is today. Granted, I have not had much direct contact with Russia or any other ex-Soviet states (next interim trip suggestion to make to the Lafayette faculty?). But, I still felt compelled to grab a seat to hear the words of a man who was essentially responsible for the breakup of Soviet Russia and the creation of 15 new countries and the removal of communism as a form of government in Russia.

Mikhail Gorbachev at Lafayette had some very interesting things to say about what happened and why, what lessons can be learned from that period in history and how those lessons can be applied to the present (I’m talking about you, Arab Spring and Occupy Wall Street). A few days later, I learned from a member of the Board of Trustees that Gorbachev was extremely unwell before he was set to take the stage and members of the organizing committee were concerned about him. But being the true man of action he is, he powered through and delivered his (very witty) address. It truly felt like I was in the presence of greatness. As I walked out, I was reminded of this quote I had read years ago

“Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.”

If anyone who attended that talk took away just one thing from it, I hope it is that above sentence.

Speaking of the Board of Trustees, this past week I attended a Trustee Committee meeting as a student representative, there to share my opinions about decisions that affect the students. I have been on that Committee for a little over a year now, and I have to say, it is empowering. There I am, sitting in a room full of alumni and staff members, most of whom graduated before I was born and who are used to making decisions that influence the future direction of Lafayette on a weekly basis, and I have everyone listening intently to me as I talk about what current students want and hope for. It’s great to know I have that kind of power. It also doesn’t hurt that I get invited to dinners with excellent food (and an open bar :p). There’s only so much dining hall food I can take sometimes.

Finally, the last highlight of my week has been Don Juan – a new Mexican restaurant that opened on March Street (about a half block from Gates/McKeen residence halls if anyone is visiting campus and wants to know where it is). You might be wondering why I like it so much…

  1. They serve Mexican food.
  2. It actually tastes good.
  3. They are within walking distance of my residence hall.
  4. They are open till 2:30 am.
  5. Their furniture is a combination of bright green, bright yellow and bright pink.
  6. When I ask for it to be made spicy, they make it spicy.

That’s all for now. Tune in next week as I talk about the Religious Modalities and the socio-economic ramifications of Stephen Hawking’s “A brief history of Time”. Or I might just talk about my week and the fun things I did. It’ll be either one. But you won’t know until you read the next post.

posted in Ryan Shroff


  1. Ryan, I enjoyed this post, sounds like you’re having a great senior year! By the way, Lafayette does offer an interim trip to Russia – I went on it 2 years ago, and heard it’s being offered again this year. Definitely a great experience for those who dare to travel to Russia in the winter. 😉

    says Hannah Smock
    October 27, 2011 at 10:22 am
  2. love the quotes, ryan! and i commend you for your multitasking – so you don’t have to commend yourself 😛

    says Ioana Marin
    November 1, 2011 at 3:55 pm
  3. Ioana and Hannah,

    Thanks so much for the wonderful comments. I am having a great senior year, but it might have been better if you guys were still around.
    Ioana, look out for more fun quotes from me every week.

    says Ryan Shroff
    November 2, 2011 at 9:56 pm
  4. So when are u gonna talk about Stephen Hawking’s ‘A Brief History of Time?”

    says Trinh
    November 18, 2011 at 1:27 pm

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