Just Josiah

There are going to be people you're going to meet in college, you'll know them for years but you won't actually get to know them until your junior or senior year. One of the people that I've gotten the opportunity to get to know more in this last year of college is Josiah "Jo" LeDoux-Hayes. As one of my front desk workers, I've been working with him since the beginning of the school year. Throughout the year we've had talked about various topics and I had the chance to interview him about his experience from Cal Lutheran and the lessons he's learned.

Her Campus Cal Lutheran: What’s your major?

Josiah LeDoux-Hayes: Exercise Science, question mark.

HCCLU: Can you explain why you say “question mark”?

JLH: It’s something that I’m probably not going to be pursuing so I’ve begun to pursue other things and may not finish the requirements necessary. At this point in time, it’s my last year, so we’ll see.

HCCLU: So from my understand, you were expected to graduate last year?

JLH: Expected to graduate and could have pushed to graduate last year. But I decided to extend my stay. Mostly because I finally figured out that Exercise Science wasn’t for me. It’s not like I didn’t enjoy it or anything like that. But it was my third year and you kind of start getting that idea that I might not see myself doing this in the long run, but then you’re so close already and you figure that you might as well just stick it out. Then you realize that you can’t just stick it out anymore.

HCCLU: So you’ve been here for quite awhile now, what’s it been like?

JLH: Honestly it’s probably been four of the best years of my life. Just being able to figure out who I am and not necessarily have to listen to other people’s input all the time- not that it isn’t appreciated in some situations. But when you’re constantly surrounded by expectations, it takes you out of yourself a little bit. It was nice to recenter myself and do it my way. Despite some of the bigger challenges that I’ve faced in the four years, I think the return on the good moments have been completely worth it.

HCCCLU: In the four years that you have been here, what are some of the things you have been involved in?

JLH: Most of it have been athletics, I’ve played three different sports at Cal Lutheran, which were all pretty fun. Working for different people has also been really great; I was an RA my sophomore year, moved to a front desk position my junior year and am working at a front desk now as well. My senior year, I worked with campus services, I’ve worked for them for three years over the summers. I just joined American Marketing Association about two weeks ago. I was also a part of Wrestling Club for a brief moment.

                                                                 Josiah and his RA staff from his sophomore year

HCCLU: What are some of the lessons that you’ve learned while you’ve been here?

JLH: The biggest one is to take things with a grain of salt. It’s been weird with that lesson because I have a very analytical mind so I try to pick everything apart. This eventually gets you to a point of “nowhere” and that’s weird because once you get nowhere there’s nothing to distract you. That was probably one of my most challenging times at Cal Lutheran, I reached a point where nothing made sense in my life and I was very, very unhappy. Once I learned to question that place as well, I realized that sometimes the problem is listening to everyone else and even myself. When I would be coming up with all these different ideas or ideal futures I wanted to have or be a part of, things that I want to pursue. I had to ask myself if I really wanted to pursue those things. If I don’t like it then I’ll hopefully find something that I do like. Something I figured out was that what I want or what I like isn’t always going to be one thing- I think that’s why I’ve played three different sports at Cal Lutheran. For me, it was allowing myself to acknowledge that it wasn’t for me anymore and despite what everyone else thinks, this isn’t for me. You just have to be able to question what you’re taught and what you’re told, what you think. To me, it was the most enlightening moment in my life as well.

HCCLU: What would you say to people who are in a bad place in their life?

JLH: At that point I would say that there’s going to be someone in your life, everyone has one whether they know it or not. But there’s going to be one person who will let you be who you are and that natural relationship where you don’t feel like you have to become someone you’re not in order to be with this person, I think that person is going to become very important in your life. For me it was my freshman year roommate, he was able to accept who I was. He always said just do you, this is part of your life, don’t wish it away. He would acknowledge that it did suck at that moment, but there would be something after that. You have to remind yourself to keep taking steps forward, don’t stop moving. Embrace where you’re at and find a way to keep moving.

HCCLU: What are some of your favorite memories here at Cal Lutheran?

JLH: I wish I could narrow it down. Freshman year was a super cool time because I was stepping into this freedom. A lot of my favorite memories are from freshman year, being able to take a step back from expectations and really embrace the freedom I had at that point. I had a lot of fun memories while I was an RA as well, being surrounded by a bunch of great people. Junior year I was able to ket myself go even more- being able to extend my friend groups to include different places, different things, different activities. It’s been a gradual theme of expanding and exploring every year.

HCCLU: What are some of your favorite classes?

JLH: It would have to be Intro to Psychology with Dr. Kissinger, my Anatomy class with Dr. Ulrich was great, I enjoyed Advanced Biomechanics with Dr. LeBlanc and Painting with Dr. Pearce. I’ve always been creative, if it wasn’t for Cal Lutheran I probably would have ended up going to an art school. But I also knew myself well enough that if I was forced to do it, then I wouldn’t enjoy it. If someone told me that I had to come up with X amount of drawings then that would ruin drawing for me. I was also exploring the idea of being an art major because I started to realize that I wasn’t really cut out for Exercise Science. I also decided that wasn’t for me either.

HCCLU: Was it hard to come to the realization that Exercise Science wasn’t your thing after all the years you’d been working towards it?

JLH: Yes and no, it was difficult to validate that when you’re paying out the nose to get a degree, as per the standard. To me, that wasn’t very stressful because I didn’t hold very much value to the degree in the first place, but trying to explain that to parents and other family members who stressed the importance of getting a “good education” and when they don’t see the degree they probably won’t think that I got the education for some reason. Realizing that it wasn’t for me was also relieving because you finally realize that you can keep searching for what it is you want to do and I think I finally found my thing.

HCCLU: And what is the “thing” you’ve found?

JLH: It's a project that I have been developing, called 'Project Un.' It's a business/marketing venture that I would like to launch locally to help our community and neighboring communities rebuild after the disasters and tragedies in November.

HCCLU: Any regrets?

JLH: Not trusting myself initially, I should have admitted earlier that Exercise Science might not have been for me. If I could have said that I wanted to explore something else and open myself up a little bit. I shouldn’t have let the expectations of other people get the best of me.

HCCLU: What’s the one thing you would tell the world if you could?

JLH: Meet in the middle, a lot of things I’ve learned throughout my academic career on top of my own curiosity, realizing that it’s our ideas about us that separate us. Trying to set yourself apart from other people to the degree that you start viewing them as less or more which make sense by comparison, but you’re not those other people, you’re not that other person. The way to come together is to realize your differences and to explore your differences and to explore what makes you unique and not be worried about what anyone else is doing. That comparison mindset makes you want to assimilate to something else that may not be for you. Wars are fought because of that. But if we allow freedom within ourselves and the freedom for other people to explore themselves and to explore what makes them unique. We need to allow others to create a space for themselves and we should be taking the initiative to help that person along their journey. If we repeat this process of support in exploration, we can find that maybe someone else will do that for you.