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Raul’s Report: Who are you?

MAKING CHOICES AND OWNING UP TO THEM

You may have figured out by now that I tend to be a little sentimental, and this time of year always brings out that side of me. Hands down, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.

Thanksgiving is such a big deal to me that I proposed to my wife the day before the holiday! I love the family connections, the food, and the football. I also enjoy the bargain-hunting adventure of Black Friday shopping. Not the online kind. The in-person, jostled-in-the-crowd kind. I challenge anyone to find a better Black Friday deal on a TV than I do!

I think as my children have gotten older and my son went off to college, I’ve felt my attachment to the holiday and family become stronger. When my son comes back home to visit, I look forward to listening to him share his experiences, observations, and personal discovery. This last visit, our conversation turned to the question of who he is and what he represents.

My son recently saw some fellow students get called out for poorly representing the university and their classmates after they’d gotten into trouble. He was surprised by the reaction, figuring that since the students were the ones who’d made the mistake, it would only affect them. But, as he thought about it, he realized that their actions went far beyond themselves. He also realized that his own actions, good or bad, have a ripple effect that he should consider when making decisions.

He represents his family, his community, his friends. Then, once he settles into a career, he’ll have a responsibility to his employers and his co-workers.

Personally, I know my decisions and actions directly reflect not only on CU Denver but on all of you, the students. I take the responsibility of representing you very seriously. Even when there’s no one around who knows me, I always keep the reputation of the university in mind and make the choice to act thoughtfully. It’s the right thing to do and it makes a difference.

As my son reflected on the experience of his classmates, he told me it was time for him to consider the impact his decisions have and we talked about how every choice he makes has greater implications, sometimes immediately and other times in the distant future. Watching him, I saw a young man grow and step up to begin taking ownership of his choices.

I often watch as the students I know experience the same evolution as my son. It’s a new maturity and awareness that helps all of us positively contribute to our world. So, who are you? I see a CU Denver Lynx, a student, a future leader, and so much more. You are becoming the best ‘who’ you can be, and the transformation is empowering not only to you, but to those of us lucky enough to witness your journey.

Good luck with your choices and with final exams!

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