To speak to a class of curious sixth graders was scary enough.
But when Kip got invited to speak in front of some 1,000 college freshmen at his alma mater Northwestern, he knew he had his work cut out for him.
Luckily, all went well, mostly.
First, he assured the students they would be in good hands this semester with NSU's faculty, who care deeply about student success. As an example, he told the story of one of his own professors throwing an eraser at him for falling asleep in an 8 am class, and how that same professor would later become his advisor and mentor, counseling him on classwork and helping him get his first job in Washington, DC.
He then asked students to always remember why they were in college (to get an education!), and then minutes later in the speech, he threw T-shirts to attendees who could still recall why they were in college (to get an education!). The T-shirts also helped keep the students awake and off their iPhones. Briefly.
In the preachy but obligatory section of the 12-minute address, he asked students to remain curious, to push themselves beyond their comfort zones, and to remember that while they were out there finding themselves these next four (or five or six) years, they would also be defining themselves to their friends, their teachers, their parents, and ultimately, to themselves.
He ended his talk highlighting the importance of being nice and helping others, which gave him an opportunity to announce the new partnership between Northwestern and 1 of 7 to make volunteering and community service part of the freshmen experience. More than 100 students have since signed on to participate.
Finally, he tossed out one last T-shirt and returned relieved to his seat ... but not before taking the obligatory selfie.