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Lessons Learned, Part VI

Lessons Learned, Part VI

Alumni March 18, 2020
A continuing reflection on life acquired in and out of the classroom — from the Classes of 1970 and 2015.

Make change or move on

Micah Eames ’15
Media Communications Associate, TED Conferences
New York City

Micha Eames in a Hawaiian print shirtGood New York: If I’m not doing something it’s because I don’t want to. There are concerts, comedy shows, friends, museums, beaches and parks all a walk or train ride away.

Bad New York: I come from a close, large, Irish-Catholic family who lives in the Chicago area. I’m the only one living on the East Coast. I have invested in a good travel rewards credit card.

If I could be a superhero, I’d be The Flash. I love to run, but I’m always running late.

“I love to run, but I’m always running late.”

In middle school I had trouble fitting in. It drove me to find things I love doing on my own like running, biking and drawing. It’s also made me proactively look for ways to make everyone feel included. I’ll naturally gravitate toward the plus-ones at parties or new-hires at the staff event to talk them up and make sure they’re having a good time and feel included.

If you want to travel the world, get a passport. If you want to see the world, get a bicycle. You can’t really look at your phone when riding so it’s a great way to unplug and take time to think — or not think.

I don’t think you find love; I think you work at it. No two people are perfect, let alone made perfectly for each other. You make it work through communication, making time for one another and finding reasons to celebrate one another.

Water makes the world go ’round, but coffee is made of water, so it falls into the family. I’d be lost without caffeinated bean water.

I realized I was transgender going into my final year of college. It was an immediate sense of relief to find words that could speak to my experience. But elation gradually turned into anxiety. Coming out as trans is complicated and multifaceted. I was unsure about healthcare needs, work discrimination, therapy. How will my friends and family take it? There’s no one, right way to come out as trans, or to come out of any closet for that matter. We’re all running our own race. A trans person is still the exact same person you’ve always known them to be. My family, friends and co-workers have been very supportive. Especially my mom. She reads articles and books and listens to podcasts and then asks me specific questions like “I heard one person in a podcast say this about their experience being trans – do you relate to that at all?” She understands one person cannot speak for everyone in the trans community and that only I can speak for myself.

My family had a much more difficult time with my transition from iPhone to Android. “Our group chats are green now!! I can’t FaceTime you!! I don’t want to download Google Photos, just switch back to Apple!!” I came out as trans a year ago and everyone has adjusted. It’s been two years since I’ve joined #TeamPixel and I still haven’t heard the end of it.

You only have so much energy. Either use it to make change or move on.

Honor by name

Phil “Jay” Grassia ’70
Ret. Lt. Col., U.S. Army; Retired Health Care Executive
Ocean, New Jersey

Phil Grassia in a Dayton Flyers polo shirtArt Linkletter thought kids say the darndest things. Well, so do adults. People, especially the happy ones who brighten my day, make me laugh.

Philanthropy is important but I believe volunteering is actually more valuable. You become engaged in what you’re contributing to. I spent eight years as a trustee for the Ronald McDonald House in New Jersey. My participation allowed me to understand what the needs and mission of the organization really were and how I could help in more ways than just writing a check.

“A lifelong, loyal friend is someone who stands by you without being asked.”

A lifelong, loyal friend is someone who stands by you without being asked.

As I was nearing adulthood, my father told me, “There is only one thing I can give you in this life that matters, and that is your name. If you dishonor it then you have gotten nothing from me.” To me, this meant be honorable. I have tried to follow those words my entire life and feel that I have honored my father and his name.

The military teaches responsibility and how to manage people – skills that easily transfer to civilian life.

Marriage has taught me that communication is the most important asset to see you through. However, later in life good hearing aids are paramount. 

Keep in touch with friends, both old and new. The memories shared will be very precious later in life.

I’m not sure I will ever learn everything my iPhone is capable of doing.

If you haven’t experienced failure at some point in life then you’re not testing yourself. We learn about life from our failures.

Getting older is part of life. Each stage needs to be approached with zest and acceptance. Live, love and laugh. 

I have many fond memories from my varsity wrestling days at UD. One of its most valuable life lessons is that although you are alone on the mat and it is your own efforts that can decide whether you win or lose, you are still a part of a team. Your efforts have a direct effect on whether the team wins or loses. This happens in life, your job and your family. Wrestling teaches us that we are all responsible for ourselves but how we handle our responsibilities has a lasting effect on our lives and those around us.

I believe everyone should love someone unconditionally at least once.

We all have lessons to share. Email us to share yours or to recommend we talk to a fellow Flyer you know has a story to tell. We're looking for alumni from all years and professions. Email magazine@udayton.edu today. Thank you!

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