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Waldorf University held its opening convocation, during which Waldorf President Bob Alsop welcomed the new students and associate professor Tim Bascom gave the convocation address, Aug. 28 at the Boman Fine Arts Center.

Alsop gave a welcoming address to the students, saying Waldorf University will feel like home to them.

“Things might seem a little strange at first, but over time it will feel like home,” Alsop said. “Welcome home.”

The convocation address was given by Bascom, the English and creative writing professor, who spoke on “Cats, Curiosity, and the Academic Hustle.”

“The fire of learning, right? Which means that basically learning is at the core of going to college,” Bascom said. “You want to learn. That’s why you’re here.”

Bascom said the two recommendations of learning at a higher level are to be curious and hustle.

“Don’t be ashamed of the things that interest you,” he said. “Pursue it.”

In his college days, Bascom said he wanted to learn how novels are written and how the process works.

“I remember I wrote a paper on ‘Moby Dick,’ and like you’re probably going to do in a semester, I waited until the last moment and the night before and I tried to get this thing cranked out, and it wasn’t a very good paper, and I got an OK grade, but I went home at Christmas and I’m like, ‘Darn it, I really didn’t figure this thing out. I didn’t get it right,’” he said. “So, I know this is strange, but I actually rewrote the paper. I knew it wasn’t going to affect the grade; I just wanted to figure out this one character named Queequeg, who was in the book ‘Moby Dick.’”

Bascom said whatever course the students take, they should try to learn all they can because learning as much as possible is fun.

“They say, you know, that curiosity killed the cat,” he said. “…But I’m going to argue that curiosity can save the cat. If you’re curious, then you’re going to know more than that sleepyhead who’s interviewing right after you. You’re going to get the job. You’re going to do better on the job because you’re going to know more, because you were curious, you pursued it. You’re going to end up sparkling because you’re curious.”

After curiosity comes hustling, and a good work ethic means doing some extra research on an essay, taking notes and actively listening, marking the book, asking questions and discussing the material with fellow classmates.

“Now, I teach creative writing, and the students who make me want to sing when class is done are the ones who want to revise,” Bascom said.

Bascom finished his speech by saying thinking is hard work like any sport, but students can build their “thinking muscles” similar to building their bodily muscles.

“So go forth, be the curious cat in the room and hustle,” Bascom said.

Student Body President Andrew Murley then gave his own speech, telling the new Waldorf students to not be afraid to put themselves out there and try new things while they start their new college career through sharing his own experiences.

“I believe each and every one of you has those tools to succeed because our professors are going to help give those to us, so you’ve just got to take them and run,” Murley said. “Be the best you can possibly be.”

Murley described how he became the student body president, being only slightly interested in the student government but slowly becoming more involved in it over time, and though most students coming into college don’t think they could be student president, they could be.

“You’ve got to be able to put yourself out there in those positions,” he said. “Get out of your comfort zones and become the best that you can be, because these experiences here: once in a lifetime.”

Though the students might be scared to try something new or meet someone new, though they may be interested, they should take that shot, Murley said in finishing his speech.

“Always remember, you’re going to miss every shot that you don’t take,” he said. “And if you take that shot and you miss, just remember: pick yourself up, dust yourself off, keep moving forward. There’s always another chance to make another shot.”

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