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Profiles & Awards

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Humans of Fort Lewis College: Ryan Murphy

Ryan MurphyBackground: What's your title, and what do you do on your job? And how many years have you been at FLC?

I started working in the Registrar’s Office as the Assistant Curriculum Specialist last April. My main project is facilitating the upcoming transition from 4 credit to 3 credit classes, which involves processing about 900 different proposals. So far, this has been a great opportunity to learn about all of the majors, minors, and courses on campus, as well as the enormous amount of planning that goes into a college curriculum. In addition to my work with the curriculum, I locate and deliver student records and help students, faculty, and staff who visit the front desk at the Registrar's Office.

Although I’ve only been in this position for a few months, I’ve been a part of the FLC community for 10 years. I started as a freshman in 2005 and completed my B.A. in Philosophy with a minor in French in 2010.

What do you like best about working at FLC, and why?

FLC is a wonderful place to work because of the unique interplay between the people on campus and the environment around the campus. People are friendly, and although the community is on the smaller side, it’s large enough to support diversity in so many forms. FLC is a place where creativity, productivity, and recreation interface to foster a very pleasant environment for working and living. Our views around campus and sharing space with the deer and birds are nice reminders that we get to work and study in nature too!

Where are you from, and how did you get from there to here?

I grew up in Montrose, Colorado, and after I finished my degree at FLC, I returned there for two years to work and save for graduate school. I had a really fun job managing a hotel front desk and even had a few opportunities to speak French with foreign guests. I never let go of my interest in philosophy, and after some time working in the customer service industry, I recognized the value of being able to think and express oneself freely. Graduate school was the best place for me to follow my leanings.

In 2012 I moved to San Francisco to study Philosophy at San Francisco State University. Having lived in rural Colorado my whole life, learning to live in the city was definitely a major transition in lifestyle. Still, the environment of my graduate program was more than I hoped for. I had the chance to take interesting classes, make friends with similar interests, and even teach a few courses of my own. My research focused on ethics, political philosophy, and Buddhism. Getting to study the ideas that interest me most was what I wanted to do, and grad school was a great place to do it.

When I completed my M.A. last December, I was faced with the decision of what to do next. Although I had planned on continuing graduate studies, I decided to take time to return to work and apply some of the theory I had been studying. My goals were to work in an educational setting, and I was hoping to return to Colorado to be closer to family and friends. Since I last left Durango in 2010, I had always thought about returning. It turns out that I had lucky timing, and the position I'm currently in became available around the time I started looking.

What's your favorite thing to do outside of work, and why do you love it?

One of my favorite activities is trail running. It’s such a wonderful way discover new things and watch familiar places change from season to season. Afterwards, I like to cook meals with my family and friends. Together, my running/cooking combo is the perfect blend of solitude/company and being outside/inside. 

What's an interesting thing about you that most people don't know?

Well … this one is fun, because now that I’m sharing it, everyone reading this will know this about me: I love to dance. Not in any formal style, but just to whatever funky tunes are playing. I even took my dancing on T.V. and appeared on three episodes of a Bay Area dance party show. When I was younger, I was very shy about dancing, but once I discovered it was a fun way to be myself and let my freak flag fly, I couldn’t stop doing it.

Please share one bit of advice or a favorite quote you can offer about ... anything.

Of all the choices in life, perhaps the most important is attitude. This could mean choosing to see a challenging situation in a new light, or choosing to be humble enough about one's beliefs to be willing to change them. I think there's a lot of personal freedom that comes when we realize we are the deciders of our attitude; it's a shift from being subjected to whatever is going on around us and reacting impulsively, to realizing that each of us has the power to choose how we respond to our surroundings. Rumi sums this up nicely: "Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself."

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