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Robbie Dennis

Hallelujah Ladies! We’re only four days, a couples of tests and probably some papers away from a full week of freedom. I can already sense the smell of turkey and warm rolls wafting through the air. As Thanksgiving quickly approaches, I find myself mulling over all that I am thankful for—my heater is finally on, there’s food in the dining center, my professors grade fairly…I’m living the good college life. But I think we all know what is missing: I’m not taking anyone home to meet good old Mom and Dad. (Because that is essential to college life, right?) So, instead, I’ll just give thanks for the cutest boys around: UNI’s campus cuties!

You ladies never fail me. This week’s campus cutie is a total stud. He likes to read the classics, he journals daily, he loves the outdoors, he’s crazy about kids, he is in every sense a cutie—and his name? His name is Robbie Dennis.
Robbie Dennis was born and raised in Ames, Iowa, but joined Panther Nation last year. Though Cedar Falls has proven slower paced for this cutie, Robbie informed me     “Cedar Falls is becoming home very quickly…more so than I imagined it would.” His reason for feeling at home here? The people, of course. Even after just one day on campus his freshman year, Robbie fell into a group of friends that he has maintained still. It was that first night that assured Robbie that UNI was to become his home.

Dennis is majoring in Early Elementary Education in hopes of becoming a Kindergarten teacher. Yes ladies, that’s right—a single man who wants to teach cute little five-year-olds. Adorable!

So where did his passion for kids come from? Well, ladies, prepare yourselves…Robbie actually spent this past summer as a preschool teacher. It was this experience that forced our cutie to switch from his English major to El Ed.  When I asked what he liked about working with preschoolers, Robbie’s face lit up. They’re the perfect age because “they’re not babies anymore”.

It comes as no surprise that he would love working with kids. Even the way Robbie describes himself reflects the makings of a great teacher. He used words such as outgoing, adventurous, goofy, and as having an above average imagination. If you ask me, these characteristics combine to make one perfect kindergarten teacher.

Just talking about kindergarten takes me back to some of my fondest childhood memories. I don’t know about all of you, but my favorite part of kindergarten was nap time. My teacher used to read The Box Car Children books as I lay on my mat, pretending to be asleep. From his interview I was easily able to conclude that he’d be a great nap time conductor. Why, you ask?

Well, any given night, if Robbie had his own way, would be spent curled up in slippers and sweatpants with a book he’s already read before. However, don’t jump to any conclusions ladies. This cutie has a whole different side to him; one of adventure, random road trips, spontaneity, and ultimate Frisbee. In fact, Robbie has traveled a lot recently for ultimate Frisbee tournaments. He even has a road trip planned for this Thanksgiving break with some friends, and multiple stops in the South for Frisbee this spring break.

Ultimate Frisbee has become a huge part of this cutie’s life during his college career, but his passion for it can be traced back to high school. Even Dennis’ greatest accomplishment in life deals with Ultimate. If it weren’t for Robbie, the first high school Ultimate Frisbee team would not exist. What first started as an idea between a buddy and himself, has grown to become one of the biggest things in Ames right now.

“It’s one of those times where I can say ‘this thing wouldn’t have happened had I not been there’,” Robbie stated. Ultimate Frisbee may have had a great impact on Dennis, but I think we can all agree that this cutie has contributed quite a lot to the sport himself. I mean, how many of us can say that we formed the first…well, anything in Iowa?

With the life that this cutie has already lived, I would say he’s well on his way to accomplishing his biggest dream: To have a career that he enjoys and living a life with no regrets. “[I hope] to look back and be content with my life,” said Dennis upon reflecting over his goals.

After our interview, I couldn’t stop thinking over his words. As college students, happiness should be something we all seek. Better yet, contentedness with our jobs better start now in our majors. I found myself asking: What is it that I’m trying to accomplish by going to college? Am I here to pursue my life’s purpose, or am I here to make my parents happy. I know (or at least hope) that many of you find yourself asking this same question regularly.

Why is it that you are here? Do you like your major? Do you know what you want to become? Is it something that you could live with for the rest of your life? I’ve come across a fair amount of people who can’t give answers to these questions…myself included.

However, don’t let worry set in. I fully believe that, in every pursuit, you will be led exactly where you are supposed to be led. So what if that job you want is competitive, underpaid, unsteady, or impossible. If you have the heart to do it, you have the power to be successful at it. Don’t settle for a job that you can ‘deal’ with for the rest of your life. I give you permission to fall head over heels in love with your job.

All of us, like Robbie, should hope to reflect back on our lives and see every day spent as a blessing, not a waste. The time to start making a better “past” for ourselves starts today. Don’t settle for anything less than your best. In the end, it’ll create a much better story.

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