Hundreds of WTAMU students, faculty and community members filled the First United Bank Center Thursday, Oct. 4 to hear Navy SEAL and humanitarian Eric Greitens discuss the importance of serving others with courage and compassion.
“One of things I always find inspiring is all of the incredible talent, and energy and curiosity that exist in young people across the United States,” Greitens said. “I want them all…to use the time here in college to actually create their purpose by challenging themselves.”
Greitens is the author of WT’s 2012 common reader “The Heart and the Fist.” The New York Times best seller is the first-hand account of Greitens’ life overseas as a humanitarian in third world countries, a Rhodes and Truman Scholar at the University of Oxford and a U.S. Navy SEAL. Greitens is also the founder of The Mission Continues, a national non-profit organization that challenges veterans to find ways to serve in their communities.
“It’s kind of crazy that he actually lived out all of that in his life and that everything in the book was actually true,” Jaycee Booth, freshman Nursing major, said.
After a ceremonial introduction by WT Student Body President Nick Goettsche and WT President Dr. Patrick O’ Brien, Greitens shared his stories and life lessons.
“There are so many wonderful memories,” Greitens said. “Whether it was how we worked with the children in the street of Bolivia or working with young kids in Rwanda.”
After Greitens took members of the audience on his journey of working with orphans, he took them further into tales of courage with his accounts of training as a Navy SEAL during Hell Week.
“When I think about Hell Week and I think about what it actually took to make it through that incredibly difficult week, I always remember how I felt at the very end of that week,” Greitens said. “It was one of the best times that you never want to have again.”
Greitens primary focus for the convocation was to challenge students to serve others with courage and compassion and help students find that courage. According to Greitens, the best way to face fear is to write it down.
“There’s certain ways that we are courageous and there are other times that we can be very fearful,” Greitens said. “Write down what you’re afraid of and then figure out how you’re going to address that fear.”
For young college students, a new school, new people, and new classes can be a daunting feat to face, especially when there are so many different degrees and activities to be involved in.
“It’s absolutely natural to not know what you want to do,” Greitens said. “You’re not going to find your passion, but you can create it and the way that you create it is by challenging yourself and trying new things.”
For freshman and Mechanical Engineering major Luke Bishop, Greitens’ words of wisdom were inspirational and challenged him to go places he’s never been before.
“I would like to go visit places like that and make a difference…to make a change in the world, for other people.” Bishop said.
For students who aren’t sure whether college is right for them, Greitens reminded them that college is a great opportunity, one that very few people in the world are privileged to have.
“There are many ways to live a good and fulfilling life,” Greitens said “I would encourage anyone who is at WT to take full advantage of everything that college has to offer. College is an incredible opportunity that so few people in the world have.”