President's message to students on finding daily rhythm

Sept. 21, 2017

Greetings Gamecock Students,

I trust that the semester is off to a good start and that you have established a good rhythm for yourself. Whenever you start something new it's important to get into a rhythm that helps your productivity and your attitude. Rhythm is important to me, too. It provides the predictability and confidence that I need to endure the ups and downs of my day.

I work on creating my daily rhythm, the night before, by reviewing my calendar, packing my briefcase and even thinking about what I might wear the next day...that's the easy part, because I nearly always wear a garnet tie! Then I plug in my smart phone to recharge, but not in the bedroom. I don't sleep with it nearby because it can interrupt the rhythm of my sleep with messages or notifications I might receive. I wake up early, (I'm sure that sets us apart), not because I wouldn't mind a bit more sleep but because I don't want to rush out of the house without some time to calibrate and mentally prepare for the day. I check the news to make sure the "planet is still here" and then get to the gym by about 7:10 AM to play squash with several regular partners.

Exercise is a vital part of my daily rhythm and a source of my energy and positive attitude. I have a banana or a quick snack at the office which satisfies me until lunch. My daily rhythm also includes short breaks during the day. I might make a quick call to check in with Patricia, and I might take a few minutes to call or send a text to my two children...of course, I want to know how our two granddaughters are doing.

I do wish that I had more time to keep in closer touch with friends. Friends are a vital part of our lives yet we don't usually give them enough time or attention. Oh, we "keep in touch" through Facebook and other social media but that's fairly superficial. When I graduated from college, a large number of my friends and I vowed that we would always stay close, always be in touch. That didn't happen for most in the group and I have no one to blame but myself. But I do have four very close friends from those days and we have shared a lot together...weddings, births, funerals...and lots of reunions. We spend time reminiscing and laughing about the past and, frankly, there's nothing like it.

I hope that you have made some great friends at Carolina and, hopefully, you will find more before you graduate. Be kind and supportive of each of them...and give them the attention that good friends deserve. They will be there for you as well, and who knows, you may develop lifetime bonds.

Be sure to stop and say hello when you see Patricia or me on campus. We may not exactly develop "lifetime bonds" but we would love to hear about how you are doing and receive your opinions about the university. We don't expect to hear that things are perfect but listening with an open mind is the first step to improvement. If you have some good feedback about your experiences at USC, we would be more than happy to hear that fact that would really help my daily rhythm!