One of the safer blanket-terms you might use to describe Northwestern as a whole is “dedicated.” NU students are dedicated—we commit to our studies and student groups wholeheartedly, and that passion permeates campus like few other things do.
I would want to sit down and have a meal with Tom Hruby because, in my mind, he has redefined what we mean when we say a Wildcat is dedicated. Hruby is an active Navy S.E.A.L. and a member of Northwestern’s football team. He has a wife and three children. NU students are lauded for their dynamic on-campus involvement, but woah, that’s a lot of commitment to a lot of really different things.
My understanding of the S.E.A.L. experience is sadly limited to what I’ve read in Chris Kyle’s American Sniper and Discovery Channel specials, and one could argue that my understanding will never be adequate. Hruby has done tours in Afghanistan and Iraq, and what I’d really like to learn from him is how his loyalty and attitude of service to the United States has translated to his new environment: the team he plays for and the family he sees at home. Hruby has devoted himself to the things he cares for on a level that very few Northwestern students have—it’s astounding, and it would be valuable to pick his brain about what motivates him and drives him forward.
On campus, it might be said that students sacrifice their time for their passions—we jump from meeting to meeting before hitting the books and seeing people we care about. But what’s unique about Hruby’s sacrifice is the inherent totality of it. I can only imagine how a tour overseas amid a dangerous conflict, not to mention the years of preparation and training that came beforehand, can alter one’s perspective on a privilege like college.
In short, I believe that talking to Hruby might provide me a new perspective on how special and valuable an experience like Northwestern can be. We have the opportunity to be dedicated because someone else took that dedication to the next level. In the midst of our Wildcat community, we have a prime example of that, and one simple dinner could lead to a wonderful conversation. That’s a chance I wouldn’t want to pass up.
image credit: Caylor Arnold / USA TODAY Sports