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Challenges Are Learning Opportunities

Image:  Will Brooke '14

Will Brooke ’14, a Biology major from Austin, was apprehensive about applying to be MSC President.  He knew the position would be a huge time commitment and the duties would challenge him in ways he’d never experienced before.  After going back and forth and back and forth, he says, “I finally decided to just go for it.  I told myself ’just think about what you can learn from it (the experience).’” Ultimately he says he “became MSC President because I wanted to challenge myself by having new experiences that would test me.”


That desire to treat new challenges as opportunities to grow has characterized Will’s time at Texas A&M, beginning with Fish Camp.  As a reserved, quiet person, Will admits that the high energy enthusiasm of the Fish Camp experience was outside his comfort zone.  Also contributing to his initial wariness about Fish Camp was the fact that he didn’t come to Texas A&M for its traditions, which are a big focus of the program, but rather for its academics.


He felt like an outsider, but as he says so many times when talking about his college career, “doing things you’re not comfortable doing is the best way to learn.”  He quickly realized that if he was going to have fun and have a positive Fish Camp experience, he was going to have to “cut loose a little bit. I had to step outside my comfort zone there, and once I made the decision to do that I was able to let go and have fun.”  So much so that he later went on to serve as a Fish Camp Counselor.


A Heart for Serving Others

Besides a desire to challenge himself, Will also displays a strong drive to serve others, a drive that may have come from his parents, Dawn and Bill Brooke ’82, both of whom are family doctors.  That dedication to service made MSC Freshmen In Service and Hosting (FISH) stand out to him among all the other Freshman Leadership Organizations(FLOs) when he first came to campus. 


“People who have a heart for serving others are generally good people to be around,” he says.  “When you surround yourself with people who care about others and want to volunteer their time, that’s a great foundation” for being the best person you can be. 


He wanted to be around those types of people, ultimately becoming an Assistant Director for Kyle Field Day, and then Chair of MSC FISH.  When asked what about MSC FISH has made him most proud, he mentions Kyle Field Day almost immediately, but then quickly mentions the incredible number of service hours MSC FISH members provide (5000+ in 2012-13), the success freshmen have had shepherding program ideas like the Veterans Appreciation Dinner through to completion, and the strong culture of service that characterizes MSC FISH.


He cites the weekly Wednesday night rush to sign-up for FISH’s weekly service projects as an illustration of how strong that culture is.  The online sign-ups “open at midnight Thursday night.  There is a big group of people who are sitting around Wednesday night around midnight just waiting for the system to open,” he says with a laugh.  “It’s pretty remarkable to think about a bunch of college students, who have plenty of things to do with their time, sitting around waiting just to sign up to do volunteer work.”


It’s a culture that reinforces itself, he believes.  “When you do enough service, pretty soon you and your friends begin to take pride in doing a great job serving others,” he explains.  He characterizes many of the students at the MSC as “students who want to give back to A&M by bringing great programs and learning opportunities to campus.  It’s one of the things I like about the MSC.  That members challenge themselves to take up extra tasks.”


Challenges on the Horizon

Plenty more challenges lay in wait for Will this year.  First of all, there’s his term as MSC President, which coincides with Texas A&M’s largest incoming freshman class ever.  “I’m excited to try to reach out to the huge freshman class.  It will be a real challenge,” he says, particularly helping them get involved in organizations other than FLOs.  “Sometimes I think freshmen think they’re supposed to join a FLO,” he says.  “We have a lot of other involvement opportunities in the MSC, not just in FLOs, so we want freshmen to be aware of our arts committees and our cultural awareness and current events committees too.”


His classroom challenges include finishing up his Biology degree, which this fall includes a marine biology course.  “I love scuba diving, so I’m really excited about that class,” he says.  Recently he also added a business minor.  He wants to work on the business side of the biotechnology or medical industries, and he says the Career Center helped point him in the right direction.  “I talked to them about combining biology and business, and they helped me research careers and also graduate programs designed for people coming out of the natural sciences who want to go into a business field.”


Will also begins his job search later this year, but he recognizes the need to take time out now to enjoy the college experience and to celebrate what he and his friends have accomplished. He admits that one of his favorite MSC programs is the MSC Awards banquet at the end of the year.  “It’s great to see other people get recognized for their accomplishments,” he says, “and it’s always great to look back after an accomplishment and see that all that hard work paid off.”


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Submitted by:
Eric Blodgett, Communications Coordinator
Memorial Student Center

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