Ben Richards Adjusts to College, Advises Students, Thanks Staff


Elizabeth Bolin, Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

It’s no secret that the “Tritons Around the World” are an interesting bunch. One former Triton, Ben Richards, is no exception.

After graduating in 2017, Richards made DePaul University in Chicago his new home.

“It is the ideal city for me. I have had many great experiences here and I definitely see myself living here in the future,” Richards shared.

Richards’ senior year was hectic considering he applied to over ten schools. From the moment he stepped on campus, Richards felt something special with DePaul.

“I went on a college road trip throughout the Midwest, with DePaul being the first step. I felt at home. I didn’t feel the same way at any of the other universities I toured.”

Richards loves the intimacy DePaul’s small size gives him.

“I love the sense of community. My average class size is about 20 people, and all the professors know my name. This learning environment is the best for me and I have gained close relationships with some brilliant professors. Every day I’m making connections, and I’ve met so many amazing people.”

Adjusting to college is hard, and Richards’ transition took awhile.

“You have so much more time! But also so much more work. It becomes very easy to procrastinate. Yes, even easier than high school. There’s a bunch of ‘techniques’ out there to avoid it. But really, just be conscientious of how you spend your time and you’ll be good. There will be a lot of encouragement to do things that are a waste of time. Don’t be fooled. You definitely need to be social and gain experiences, but at the right time. Take advantage of opportunity. Meet people, get involved, make connections.”

Richards loves to try new things. “In my mind, there is no such thing as a ‘bad experience.’ It’s an oxymoron. You never know when that one person you met at that one event can help you with this one thing. And trust me, it’s okay to stay in on the occasional weekend.”

A day in the life of Ben Richards consists of class, work, cooking and other miscellaneous tasks.

“I wake up every day to my Amazon Alexa alarm. She turns on all my lights and says things to me like ‘Have a great day, Mr. Richards, stay handsome.’ Then I drink an absurd amount of coffee, usually clean and then go to class.”

DePaul has two campuses, one in Lincoln Park and one in the Loop. After class, Richards usually fulfills various obligations such as “helping with schoolwork, hanging mirrors on walls, filing tax returns, drafting emails, cooking dinner or helping people buy stuff.” (He’s always on the go.)

Later, Richards cooks, does homework, works on one of his side projects or occasionally makes some music. Finally, at around 11 p.m. or midnight, he takes his bike out to do Postmates deliveries.

You could say Richards lives for the weekends.

“DePaul doesn’t have class on Fridays, which is clutch. When I’m in Chicago, I go to concerts, restaurants, clubs, attractions and other events. I have been traveling a lot as well. I have friends from all over the country and I also managed to score $1600 worth of flight vouchers last year, so I try to travel as much as possible.”

Most recently, Richards celebrated Mardi Gras in New Orleans with his roommate (Barret Desotell, another former NDA student) and other friends.

Richards misses the people of NDA: “Mainly my friends. I just miss seeing them every day, and constantly being caught up on their lives. My best friends and I still have a group chat that we text in every day, but I really miss being a part of their lives and doing classic NDA stuff with them.”

Richards also misses his teachers.

“When I reminisce on NDA, or talk about memories with my friends, I totally sound like a kid who peaked in high school.”

As for the future, Richards has lots of plans.

“I don’t have one particular career goal. I actually never want to be stuck with one career.”

Richards is working on a few different projects including an app, business internships and a “pretty big project” that cannot be talked about at this time. Richards wants to live abroad and follow in his dad’s footsteps.

“When my dad was in his 20s he got a one-year work visa to live in Australia for a year, and I would love to do something like that. I have to do it before I get trapped in the U.S. with a job or living situation. I have to go somewhere far away by myself for awhile.”

What does Ben have to say to us?

“Don’t rush your way through the rest of your career at NDA. Appreciate every moment. No matter how many people tell you this advice, it will still be over in the blink of an eye and you will never savor every moment as much as you wish you did. You will still complain about everything all the time. Complaining is so fun, isn’t it? Man, if everything was perfect for us, we’d have nothing to talk about! Don’t complain about being in ‘prison,’ enjoy your prison! The staff of NDA cares about you and that’s rare to find in the real world.”

Richards would like to thank the staff and students.

“I would have sat out on everything if it wasn’t for your encouragement and love for what you do. Thank you.”