Tom Wodeshick 15': SAPB Spirit

Name: Tom Wodeshick Hometown: Milltown, NJMajor: Communications - Media ProductionMinor: SociologyYear: SeniorInvolvement: SAPB Vice President, in charge of the SAPB Street Team, Homecoming Chair, LGBT Committee Fun Fact: I'm a huge movie buff. Favorite Quote: “It ain’t about how hard you hit; it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done.” – Rocky Balboa

Tom Wodeshick is one familiar face noted at almost every major event held at William Paterson University. Being the Vice President of SAPB is a position he holds to the utmost of importance, making it his mission to help create successful events that help involve students and provide a fun atmosphere. He is involved in many more campus activities, including this past Homecoming, being a part of the LGBT Committee, and even managing the SAPB Street Team. When not juggling the various roles he has in William Paterson, he is always up for catching the next major film coming out. If you're looking for a great movie critic, too, he is the one to go to! It's safe to say Tom knows how to manage everything as smoothly as a movie director himself. 

HC: How would you describe your experience at WPUNJ?TW: It’s been insanely fun but at the same time it’s been a real life changing experience. Going to Willy P and  becoming a part of that community has been a blessing. Looking back now, I’m still in total amazement at how much time has passed and how much I’ve changed since day one. I still think that yesterday I was a freshman, and now here I am as a senior and I’m about to graduate in the spring. It’s absolutely mind blowing! Those four years really go by fast once you spring out of the gate, but during that time you have to make the most of it and explore new paths you’ve never been down before. Going to school here has really allowed me to explore new opportunities that I never thought I would ever be given and it’s really turned me into a new man. 

HC: What has been your greatest achievement here at WPUNJ?TW: There have been a lot of achievements that I’m very proud of, but the one that sticks out the most for me is overcoming my shyness and becoming a student leader. Growing up, I’ve always been a very shy and quiet kid. I played sports as a kid and into high school, but I was never very active and I always kept to myself. I almost felt like a loner, but when I arrived at Willy P that changed in a heartbeat. It was very different from growing up in my hometown. There’s a strong bond within my graduating class that, wherever I go, there was always someone there I knew that I could hang out with. I’ve met and made so many wonderful friends and mentors during my time here, and they’ve helped me overcome my shyness. Now, I’m working for SAPB, doing community service. I helped out with Homecoming this year, and the list just keeps on going! I feel gobsmacked at times, because knowing how I was in high school and even middle school, I would never be doing this. I would steer clear from all of that when I was a kid. Now that I’m older, I feel absolutely grateful becoming a student leader and overcoming something that I felt as a kid I never would go toe-to-toe with. 

HC: How did you get involved with SAPB? What has been your most favorite event you have done with your club?TW: When I was a freshman in my first year seminar class, I met my teacher who would go on to become my adviser, my coach, my mentor, and a very close friend -- Mari Rodriguez. Mari saw the potential in me when she first met me in her class. She introduced me to SAPB during one of her lectures and that was it - literally.  I became involved immediately after she introduced me to the club, and I was just stunned and blown away at all of the events that they were planning and what they’ve done in the past. It was something that I had never seen before. During my first meeting at SAPB I was nervous, as expected, and also I felt a sense of wonder watching the meeting being held. I’m sitting there thinking that this is how they got their events done. At the time, they didn’t have a full e-board and were looking for new recruits. I remember I was about to leave the meeting and Mari pulled me aside and said, “Tom, next week I want you to become involved. I want you to run for a position.” All I said was, “Okay.” I didn’t know if I was going to do it and that shyness kept hitting me. I couldn’t even come up with a speech because I didn’t know what I was going to say, nor did I have the experience for any of the positions. The next week, I became the Lectures Chair for SAPB and from there, everything fell into place. I truly and honestly don’t know where I would be now if it weren’t for Mari. She pushed me to break out of my shell, which I successfully did. She knew what I was capable of and put me to the test. I remember she encouraged me to run for Vice President of SAPB during a very difficult time for me in my life. She convinced me to stick with SAPB when I was ready to bail and to just find the good in everything I do, even when there are bad days. As my idol Robin Williams once said, "You'll always have bad times, but it'll always wake you up to the good stuff you weren't paying attention to." I thank her and love her for everything she did for me. I absolutely don’t know how I can repay her the favor. She’s one of the most inspiring, funny, and kind teachers I’ve ever had.  I owe her the world.

My favorite event that I did for the club would probably have to be the first Spring Jam. There have been a lot of phenomenal events that I’ve been involved with in SAPB, but this one stood out the most because it was a real challenge. It was a challenge to find clubs who would co-sponsor with us to bring to life probably the biggest event in this university’s history. At some points, it felt like the odds were stacked against us and to prove everyone wrong that we could pull this event off was a real delight. It was a chaotic and hectic event to do, but it was just so much fun!

HC: If you were to give your younger-self a piece of advice, what would it be?TW: That would be a very interesting conversation to have right there! I would tell myself to become more outgoing while you’re young, and if you come along an opportunity that could lead to something truly extraordinary, take it. If you take that chance and go against what people expect you to do in life, it would be one of the greatest adventures. It’s been a thrill becoming a student leader at William Paterson, and I wish I would’ve become one when I was a lot younger. 

HC: What do you dream to do once you graduate?TW: I’ve always wanted to become a filmmaker. Ever since I was a little kid and I watched Jaws and The Nightmare Before Christmas for the first time. I knew that that is what I want to do when I grow up. I love telling stories and sharing something that is unique. One option that I’m thinking about right now is working for or starting my own entertainment company. I didn’t start thinking about this until I started working with SAPB and handling different companies that deal with musicians, comedians, novelties, etc. It’s so much fun doing this and if all else fails, this would be my next choice. 

HC: What do you hope to accomplish within the next year?TW: Just keep my head above water! I would like to work in New York City or even in New Jersey making movies or working in television. Or even just planning events or working them for an entertainment company. But most of all, my ultimate goal within the next year is to be happy with where I am. Even if I’m not working where I want to -- as long as I’m happy, I’m all for it!