Profile Piece on Ryan Hendricks

Often in college, we are asked to describe ourselves in one word. While that may be a good critical exercise in high school and college, it is ludicrous to think that a person can ever really be summed up in one word because anyone of us is truly more than that. “Wow that’s a good one,” Ryan Hendricks answers to the standard “describe yourself in one word” question. It took him at least two minutes to finally say that he couldn’t, but could instead give me snippets of his life.

Ryan’s future plans include a degree in law. The decision to go into law is strictly because he feels it in his nature to challenge society’s wrong doings. He describes himself as a young man with strong morals. He is the first person in his family to go to college. He describes the path to where he wants to be ultimately in life as an open challenge which he is willing to undertake.

After living in England when he was 18 he describes the trip as a life altering experience. The trip to England was impromptu. It just happened and he is still so happy that it did because a lot changed for him. The big picture of his life became less about stacks of cash and more about the search for happiness and contentment in his life. He came to this understanding while in England because for a year he was completely out of his norm learning how to live all over again. While observing how the English lived he realized difference in the culture, the work week, and the family dynamics. Many of his observations occurred at the pubs, where he engaged in conversations with the locals. Through his interactions with them, he learned work and money were less important in this world, and that family was highly valued.

During his years in high school, Ryan belonged to a club called Leadership. As a Leadership member for four years he enjoyed participating in community service in the town of Five Towns, Long Island. He volunteered as a tutor and a server at a soup kitchen. Tutoring sessions included himself and a child roughly around the age of nine or ten studying American History in-depth. He describes the different children that he worked with as “cooperative.” One of his most fond memories is the soup kitchen’s Thanksgiving Dinner Dance. The homeless people (he served) and the other volunteers gathered together with food and song to have a good time.

Edging towards the end the interview, Ryan had an epiphany and went back to a question I asked earlier. He had finally decided on the answer to the high school/college critical question “Can you describe yourself in one word?” His one word: “adventurous.” It’s a pretty good word for Ryan. He lived in a foreign country for one year by himself, he is pursuing a college degree-the first in his family to do so, and he is seeking true happiness, not just financial security. Ryan’s mental picture of happiness includes a little of everything. Nothing in abundance. He just wants to live comfortably and happily.

Jeanny Belfort

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