Epilogue: Mike Rodriguez '17

Thank you. 

To everyone we interviewed: you are amazingly wonderful and kind people. Thank you for sharing your time, space, and story with (in most cases) almost complete strangers. Everyone had such cool things to say and shared lessons learned and I hope to take many learnings from you as I move forward. 

To everyone who came out to see us: it was so nice to see y’all out in the world! So fun to share all your different places (beaches, mountains, parks, breweries) and connect with Williams people outside the Purple Valley. 

To all of our followers: we hope we brought some joy and smiles to you with baby pictures, group shots, random bickering, and funny stories. Thanks for tuning in and hopefully you didn’t feel like we spammed your feed too much! 

Thanks to Williams for trusting us to do this absolutely insane project. We thought for sure it would be a no-go, but I definitely am glad it came through. I think we made some great connections and really got to celebrate what makes Williams so special: the people. 

Thanks to our colleagues from Alumni Relations for supporting us, letting us hop in on meetings from afar, and shipping stuff out to us as we ran out of swag (fine, Juan, we needed more swag, but I stand by that we didn’t need to bring it all at the beginning, especially when we had a bunch of extra stuff anyway). 

Thanks to Nelly for getting us there and back again. You were truly Ole Reliable, had character, and gave us minimal issues along the way. You’ll forever be a part of this piece of the Williams story. 

And of course, thanks Juan Baena ‘06 for being the co-pilot on this whole thing. Sure we got on each other’s nerves sometimes, but there were a lot of jokes, great stories, photos, and personal growth. Here’s to the next adventures. 

When we started this whole thing we knew it was going to be a lot of work. It definitely was and I know I am pretty tired from it. The impact it has had on me cannot be understated. The warmth and kindness from basically everyone is something I’ll try to emulate, and will be connecting with folks in the future. The stories are humbling and inspiring. I got to see so many cool places even if only briefly. I have a newfound respect for truck drivers. And it’s just a gigantic project I can now say I’ve done with many stories to tell. 

Thanks everyone for being a part of it in some way. It’s an honor and privilege to be amongst your ranks. We hope you got some joy out of it. 

Here are some key lessons I took away from this: 

Do what’s right not because it feels good but because it is the right thing to do. 

You are stronger than you think, but also know it takes strength to ask for help. 

Transitions are scary and lonely, but there is space, hope, and possibility within the in between. 

You make big impacts on those around you, even in small, seemingly unnoticeable ways. 

Sometimes, you just need to slow down and enjoy the little things. 

Make space, be confident, you belong and matter.

Thanks for the learnings. Thanks for the miles. Thanks for the connections. Thanks for being you. 

Until our paths cross again, may you find joy even in the challenging times. Find (or make) some happy little clouds. 

Mike Rodriguez ‘17

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