It is 5:30a.m. A hand reaches and shuts off his alarm after five hours of sleep. It’s Monday morning. Time for weights.
Glenn Williams, a 20-year-old, second year student at Kansas State University, will graduate in December. After having been an an undergraduate student for two and a half years he will begin classes to complete his Masters of Business Administration. In the time it takes an average student to graduate from K-State, Williams will have a degree in Public Relations, a minor in Leadership Studies and his MBA. He also will have been a Snyder Leadership Fellow, Journalism and Mass Communications Ambassador and a member of Alpha Gamma Psi Business Fraternity.
That in and of itself is impressive. When you factor in Division I football, it is a feat.
Williams is a competitor on Bill Snyder’s offensive line and just about every other facet of life.
“I am extremely competitive. I like to win everything. I compete against myself, against my limitations. I’m trying to beat those”.
If 17 year-old Williams would have been told what 19 year-old Williams was capable of, he would have been blown away. “I like to know that I am unexpected, to be the dark horse.”
When Williams goes back to Coppell, Texas and sees his buddies from high school. When they just finished their freshman year, he wrapped up his junior year. He is proud of the fact that he will be the first of his 800 student senior class to graduate from college.
Williams competes against himself in the classroom, always trying to beat his previous score. He remembers a time when he mentioned, “Cs get degrees” in the presence of his mother and he immediate response was, “Say that again and see what happens.” He does not want to see what happens. Hard work has always been instilled in the 6”6’ lineman. He feels guilty when he is not using his time to be productive.
Williams will be 21 years-old for exactly one month before he becomes a college graduate. He will graduate in the same year as his sister, who is three years older. Being the underdog is his motivation. Since the day he realized graduation in two and a half years was a possibility, he has been driven to make the plan a reality.
Glenn Williams is a learner. He is fluent in Spanish (his mother is from Nicaragua) and he tries to teach himself a new language every summer. Consuming and retaining new information comes really naturally to him. “My memory is just really good,” he says.
Williams really isn’t giving his memory enough credit in that statement. More specifically, his memory is partially eidetic. People with a partial eidetic memory can recall precise information after minimal exposure to it. Simply put, he has a mostly photographic memory.
Williams will type out his notes and he never need to look at them ever again. He remembers a philosophy class that ended with 55 pages of notes when the semester was almost over. He never referred back to them for the final-not a single page-and ended up with an ‘A’. “That’s how I am with all my classes, so studying doesn’t take too much time,” he admits.
School and classes really aren’t chores in Williams’ mind. They are ways to challenge himself further and again push his limits. “It wasn’t until recently that I thought, ‘Wow, I’m in a lot of school.’”
Williams realized graduating in two and a half years was a possibility for him last summer when he sat down with Sarah Howe, his academic advisor within the A.Q. Miller School of Journalism. Once Williams had this idea in his head, there was no way he wasn’t going to make it happen.
Williams and Howe were ready and willing to work together to defy the expectation and make Williams’ academic goals a reality. Their plan was finalized in the fall. That’s when it set in for Williams that he was actually doing this. “My mom didn’t believe me, my dad didn’t believe me. Nobody believed me,” he remembers.
“By utilizing summers and intersessions, Glenn was able to keep his fall course load at a light to moderate level so that it was manageable with his [in-season] football schedule,” Howe explains. She credits Williams’ willingness to meet early and often with his ability to graduate early. The two are very strategic on the long term plan-they have to be. Howe went further saying Williams has to, “always enrolled as soon as his enrollment period opened in KSIS. We rarely, if ever, ran into issues of closed or waitlisted courses forcing him to deviate from his long range plan.” She has observed him since he arrived at K-State, always noticing his dedication to his education and his willingness to take ownership and make it happen.
Outside of his graduation
plan, however, Williams would not consider himself much of a scheduler. His mentality is much more of a day-by-day outlook.
He has a planner he never writes in. “I couldn’t be more thankful for the reminders app on my phone,” that’s what he relies on. For Williams, its one day at a time. He doesn’t think about what needs to be done next week or month. What’s due tomorrow or in the next few days? He asks himself. That is what he focuses on. That how he breaks down his (to most) overwhelming graduation plan. It works for him. In fact, it works very well for him.
People on the outside looking in would say that Williams doesn’t really have much balance in his life, that he is really all over the place. According to him, he lives a life well balanced, but full of “organized chaos”.
He wakes up early for a college kid-7:45 is sleeping in. Williams goes to all his classes and does well in school, thanks to his semi photographic memory and work ethic. He says his body takes a beating playing football, but its something he finds joy in therefore totally worth it. He never feels stretched for social time. Dinner with his friends most nights helps with that. He always seems to find time for his girlfriend too. Sundays are for a little extra sleep, some rest and church. “I don’t think I could do what I do without God.” Williams credits his ability to accomplish all that he has with a strong foundation of faith.
Coffee or coke have no place in Williams’ diet. He lives his life without caffeine. Just lots of water and Gatorade. “I do sleep. I
sleep very well actually,” Williams says. That surprises people but it’s true. He jokes that he used to nap, but now he just closes his eyes for a few minutes and is good to go.
The most interesting part is that Williams doesn’t often recognize what it is that he is doing, it just seems to be the most obvious thing to do to him, “I don’t consider myself special for doing this. It’s something I just attribute to me being me.”