2015–Fall ’18 Class Letter
I’ve been thinking about the differences between being busy and being productive a lot lately, and so I thought I’d share some things I’ve learned.
During college, as many of you know, I carried a 35-pound backpack, camera equipment, and multiple grab and go meals with me. I hustled between multiple jobs, internships, clubs, and classes.
I was productive because I had to be: if I didn’t get my homework done between 11:30am and 1pm, I wouldn’t have time again until 5-5:30pm, or even later at 9pm (later, this was my time to host club meetings, so my papers and projects were pushed back even further until 11pm).
I didn’t let myself forget meals, even if it meant another sandwich or pastry from We Probably Brew Starbucks. I sacrificed sleep, and clubs were my social life.
But since then, I have seemingly infinite time. And it’s up to me how I use it. My typical schedule is simply work, sleep, workout, eat, volunteer or read, sleep. I might nap before working out, and I’ve been known to have dinner after I’ve exercised.
This is an adjusted schedule. I used to be simply busy: after work, I’d bus to the gym. Then, I might run rampant with obligations and errands, ultimately eating dinner at 10pm. It was a lot of eggs or pasta because that’s all I felt like preparing.
With this physical change comes a mental one, so I’ve shifted my mindset. I have decided what’s essential, my priorities. Here’s some things I’ve learned by honing in on what I value:
- You have to give yourself the time to work on what you truly want. In other words, if it is important to you, you have to create the space for it. Sometimes, it’s a physical space. My volunteer work is often digital. That means I need a computer, internet connection, and a quieter environment. Sometimes, that space is emotional or mental: you love that thing? You want to love it? Jump over the hurdle and work on it. Only you can make it happen. Use that as your motivation.
- Being productive means doing a lot of things behind the scenes. A lot of people just go full force into an idea, but they may have forgotten about the whys, the greater context, or the bigger picture. Some forget the little details. Remember, there’s a lot of sweat involved. Maybe coding or another Youtube how-to (if cat videos follow, I understand). Maybe you have to write endless to-do lists. Whatever it is, you have to set a structure that you (and maybe an accountabilibuddy) know, so you can get the work done for it. You might have to go it alone for a while. Which leads to my hardest point on being productive…
- You might have to say NO. Being productive in reaching your goals means disregarding irrelevant data points and assignments. Sometimes even the to-do list has to go. What do I mean? Saying “no” results in a better use of life’s greatest resource, time. Most of us work for someone or something, and these responsibilities guide how we spend our days. If you really want to achieve your goal, or make productive steps to it, you have to start. That means saying “bye” to time-suckers. With my new phone, I’ve deleted social media apps. My social life too has been reduced to the weekend (this might be a feedback loop). By spending less time socializing, online and off, I have the freedom to choose ME more.
So, how do you want to be productive? What’s your vision? If you want to own your own business and write at coffee shops to pay off student loans, then sign me up, friend. Whatever your goals are, don’t led social media, naysayers, or your physical or mental hurdles stop you. Just start. Use this letter to set your direction!
Kaylie and Sam
JAMES ALLEN ’15 of Rochester, Minnesota is working at the Mayo Clinic on HIV research.
MICHAEL ANDERSON ’15 of Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin graduated from Case Western Reserve University School of Law. He is currently in the process of commissioning with the US Navy Judge Advocate General’s Corps.
ETHAN BEMOWSKI ’15 of Green Bay, Wisconsin started working as a Sales Executive with Schneider National in June.
KATIE BIEDLER ’15 of Saint Cloud, Minnesota has transitioned to working full time on her Master’s in Strategic Media Communications at Saint Cloud State University.
CAT CARBAJAL ’15 graduated from DePaul University College of Law in May with a tax law certificate. She’ll be taking the Massachusetts bar exam in July. Before moving to Boston in September, she’ll be celebrating the end of summer in Chicago.
ANDREW CARBALLO ’15 of Eden Prairie, Minnesota, graduated from St. Thomas Law School in May. He is working as a judicial clerk with the Hennepin County District Court.
KYLE CRESS ’15 of Bloomington, Minnesota will be graduating in November 2018 as a Doctor of Chiropractic.
ZACH CONNERS ‘15 of Rockford, Illinois continues to work on home remodeling projects with his boyfriend, Weston Dixon in their new home.
ELLE DAVIS ‘15 moved to the Madison area with her boyfriend. She now works in HR as the Talent Acquisition Specialist for Caravel Autism Health, which provides individuals with autism with quality services like 1:1 therapy.
EMELIA ERICKSON ‘15 is celebrating one year as Assistant Supervisor at a retirement community in Cincinnati. She just adopted a beautiful black labradane named Stella.
PETER HAYES ‘15 of Chicago, Illinois was promoted at Envestnet to the Portfolio Management Consultant team as a Investment Product management specialist. Peter is enjoying life in Chicago where he still eats Domino’s Pizza because Ripon habits are hard to stop.
JULIA HASHEIDER ‘15 is moving to Miami with her husband. She’ll be starting a new career adventure.
HANNAH HERZOG ‘15 of Appleton, Wisconsin moved to Nashville at the end of July and will be attending Belmont University to get her Masters in Sports Administration. She will also be a graduate teaching assistant there.
JORDAN HIBBARD ‘15 of Sugar Camp, Wisconsin is doing accounting work in the insurance department of the Forest County Potawatomi.
SAM KAY ‘15 of Milwaukee, Wisconsin is working as a Project Manager for the American Society of Gene & Cell Therapy. She manages educational programming in the form of three full day workshops and the society newsletter. She has decided to take the next logical step as a liberal feminist and shave her head. Sam continues to hold her elected officials accountable by calling Sen. Johnson frequently, while also supporting the re-election of Sen. Baldwin.
CHRISTIAN KRUEGER ‘15 finished the first year of her PhD in Early American History at Marquette University. She’s currently interning at the Chudnow Museum of Yesteryear. She’ll be travelling to Kentucky in July on a Casper Research Grant.
HOLLY KORTEMEIER ‘15 of Whitewater, Wisconsin moved to Edgerton, Wisconsin. She completed her masters in school counseling at the University of Wisconsin Whitewater in May. Holly will be starting a new job as a school counselor at an elementary school in Edgerton, Wisconsin this fall!
MICHAEL LANPHIER ‘15 and JOHANNA BURTON ‘13 moved to Lincoln, Nebraska. He has a new job as a Technical Applications Specialist, and she works at the Lincoln Children’s Zoo.
ARIEL LEE ‘15 is loving her recent promotion to marketing manager of Heidel House.
EMILY FISCHER LENSMIRE ‘15 of Reedsville, Wisconsin, is loving life with her baby girl, Charlotte who is growing up very quickly! Emily is excited for her upcoming girls’ weekend in Door County with EMMA BRONSON ‘17, JENNIFER NIGGEMEIER ‘16, and SAM KAY ‘15.
MARK LISOWSKI ‘15 of Milwaukee, Wisconsin is going into his second year of graduate school at Marquette. He has a summer internship doing editorial work for a publisher that publishes seven different magazines for the agriculture industry. For his second year of school, he’s interning for a journalist. They are reporting on Mississippi River water quality and state legislation intended to improve environmental health around the river. Mark is enjoying his busy but fun summer spent hanging out with a bunch of other Ripon alumni!
KAYLIE LONGLEY ‘15 is still slaying marketing dragons in a dungeon, tackling one of her latest monsters called Google Ads. Though she’s finally in the process of buying her first car, she thinks Uber drivers provide the cheapest therapy at about $1.50/minute. She’s considering adding a segment on the shared humanity of fellow bus folks, bikers, and Uber users to her upcoming website.
RAQUEL MACSWAIN ‘15 of Stillwater, Minnesota is moving from California to Portland, Oregon to attend Lewis & Clark’s Graduate School of Education and Counseling this fall. She is hoping to tie in a ecopsychology certificate into the school counseling field too.
KATIE JO MCGEE ‘15 of Ripon, Wisconsin will be traveling to Nanjing, China with an after school program, called First Leap, to teach English to children.
NICOLE MALLI ‘15 of Washington, DC is still working for the Slave Wrecks Project. Her current fieldwork takes her to Biscayne, Florida and next she will be traveling to St. Croix for scuba shipwreck surveying training. Additionally, she has been working with an organization called Kaleidoscopio in Mozambique. This group helps find local artisans to create pieces that depict the story of the slave trade and the diaspora that it caused. Nicole’s cats are living their best lives, largely due to the new addition to their kitty condo.
EMILY MENGERT ‘15 of Phoenix, Arizona is building a house in Maricopa, Arizona. She expects to complete this project by early next year.
CODY MESSERSCHMIDT ‘15 of Madison, Wisconsin has been working as a Project Manager at Epic since summer of 2015. A few months ago Cody separated from his long time friend and roommate ZACH SPACIEL ‘15. Zach and Cody continue to speak, although the distance has been difficult for their relationship. Recently, the pair was contacted by the Disney Channel to star in a remake of one of their old shows. Cody is weighing his options.
CONNOR MESSERSCHMIDT ‘15 married Megan Messerschmidt on June 2, 2018.
KATRINA O’NEILL ’15 of Minocqua, Wisconsin, is working as a manager for the Minocqua Sherwin Williams Store.
BRIANNE MILROY ‘15 of Shorewood, Wisconsin is in her second year at Marquette University for her masters in School Counseling, she will graduate in May 2019.
JESSICA SKIBA MORGAN ‘15 of Cedarburg, Wisconsin in enjoying married life with LUKE MORGAN ‘14. They spend Friday nights at Summer Sounds, a live concert series in Cedarburg where they enjoy wine and trying out the food trucks.
ZAC NELL ‘15 of Minneapolis, Minnesota married ERIKA RIEBE NELL ‘16 on June 9. They will be seeing Hamilton together in September.
JONATHAN NEWBERY ‘15 of Oak Park, Illinois is living in Pensacola, Florida. He was recently promoted to lieutenant junior grade.
KORRINE PETERSON ‘15 of Burlington, Wisconsin, is working as a customer service representative at Wisconsin Vision Associates. She will be marrying STEPHEN COVALT’ 17 on September 28, 2019.
JAY PETTENGILL ‘15 of Medicine Lake, Minnesota proposed to his girlfriend, Taylor Rush on May 26.
CHLOE PIEPHO ‘15 of Rochester, Minnesota is living in Los Angeles, California and attending graduate school at USC. She will be completing her M.A. in Strategic Public Relations in December. She works for the LA Galaxy as a Digital Media Associate.
MEG RAY ‘15 of Delafield, Wisconsin works as a studio assistant at Kara Reese Photography and a bookseller at Books & Company Independent Bookstore.
BRISTOLE RYFF ‘15 recently moved back to Orland Park, Illinois. She spends her free time with her adorable rescue dog Dante. She loves her walks to see his quirky personality in action. Professionally, she enjoys subbing in special education classrooms.
CLARENCE SANON ‘15 is working as an Account Executive at a startup called Indigo Fair.
LAURA SAVALL ‘15 of Ridgeland, Wisconsin is now a graduate of Vermont Law School. She is studying hard for the Vermont Bar. She will be staying in the North East and looks forward to the fall colors!
KARENA SCHROEDER ‘15 of Lakeville, Minnesota is happy to announce that her baby boy, Aiden Sawyer Brenny joined her loving little family June 15th, at 8 lbs 3 oz and 21 ½ inches. He is the greatest gift she could have ever imagined and the center of her entire existence. She is on maternity leave through the end of September so this incredible summer has been, and will continue to be, spent driving to Wisconsin to visit family and friends, enjoying sunny trips up north relaxing by the lake, and fitting as many snuggles in as humanly possible. Recently, Karena had the opportunity to catch up with one of Ripon College’s former Track and Field Assistant Coaches, Jenna Rengo, when she took Aiden’s newborn pictures! Karena highly recommends Jenna’s studio, Joysong Photography.
BRIAN SCHUMACHER ‘15 has recently moved back to the Milwaukee area and is working as an R&D Associate Scientist in the materials science group at Millipore Sigma. He is studying emerging technologies and 2-D materials.
KARLYN SCHUMACHER ‘15 received her Master’s in Library and Information Studies in December of 2017. She is now working as an academic librarian at South Dakota State University.
LAURA SHIVELY ‘15 of Milwaukee, Wisconsin is still working at Premier Real Estate, LLC. She is now in charge of notice to vacates. She works closely with the in-house attorney and the expansion of the online leasing and payment system. She is also helping to design and pick out art and furniture for the corporate office, as well as new properties they acquire and rehab. In her free time, Laura enjoys yoga and spin class, and she has been trying a new restaurant every month. She has set a goal to have a zero waste kitchen by composting and cutting out/being mindful of her plastic usage.
ELIZABETH SILVA ‘15 of Catalina Island, California is now living in San Francisco, California. She is working for Yelp as an account executive.
JENELLE SIMON ‘15 of Milwaukee, Wisconsin just completed her second term of service with the College Possible Program at Milwaukee High School of the Arts. She is looking for a job in college admissions.
NATE SIUDAK ‘15 of Shorewood, Wisconsin started a new job as an Outside Sales Representative at Paycom in downtown Milwaukee.
JOHN SPADONI ‘15 and KRISTY OGLESBY ‘15 of Milwaukee, Wisconsin are getting married in November. Kristy works at a law firm in Menomonee Falls. John works at SurfaceWorks as an Account Administrator, helping company clients design custom office and work spaces. They are enjoying life on the East side of Milwaukee with their two dogs, Izzy and Bruce.
ANTHONY TAUSIG ‘15 of Chicago, Illinois is working at Broadspire, a Crawford company mostly doing project management. His career allows him to travel the country. Anthony and his girlfriend, ALLISON MACKNICK ‘17 recently got their condo renovated and adopted a puppy named Tula.
ALEX THILLMAN ‘15 of Minneapolis, Minnesota graduated in May from law school at St. Thomas University.
AMEL TOPIC ‘15 moved back to the Denver area. He is executive director of a skilled nursing/rehab center. Amel is always happy to help other Ripon alumni connect with a career in healthcare.
CASEY VERCAUTEREN ‘15 of Chicago, Illinois is working as a management consulting analyst at Accelerated Growth Advisors. Casey is strongly considering a career change to game show hosting but is patiently waiting for Steve Harvey to retire.
KAMELLE VAN DER LEEST WATERS ‘15 and ROB WATERS ‘15 are living in Blue Mounds, Wisconsin. Their Weimaraner, Jake is keeping them busy, and Rob is training for the Madison Ironman in September. Their weekends are filled with Rob’s bike rides, trail runs, and the Wisconsin Tri Series. They will be spending a long weekend in Benton Harbor, Michigan in mid August for a half Ironman as well. They look forward to meeting up with other Ripon alumni this summer!
KAITLYN WELZEN ‘15 moved to Seattle and just finished her first year at the Woodland Park Zoo. She loves playing with her dog!
DANIELLE ZAYIA ‘15 and AJ ZAYIA ‘15 of Bloomington, Illinois recently married and adopted a chocolate lab puppy named Walle.
COLIN UTHE ‘15 is beginning his second year of medical school at Des Moines University.
SYDNEY CHURCH ‘15 of Sheboygan, Wisconsin will be marrying AUSTIN VAN TREECK ‘14 in October. She will be starting her final year of my MBA through Marquette University while still working for Johnsonville.