Kurt North, a communication studies professor at Colorado State University, wakes up every morning feeling blessed that he can provide for his family by doing what he loves. North doesn’t describe his work as most people would. To him, being a professor is a unique opportunity.
North teaches Public Speaking and Communication and Pop Culture classes. He praises his classes as being “creative, interactive, eye-opening, thought-provoking and always changing.”
Counting himself as lucky to have a job that keeps him “young, energized and in touch,” it is important to North that his job also supports what gives his life meaning: family.
“My family is at the forefront of everything I do. Supporting them is all the motivation I need,” North said.
However, this wasn’t always the case. In high school, North found meaning in being with friends and in college. It was all about unsupervised fun and few responsibilities. In his 20s, money and independence gave his life meaning. It wasn’t until an adventure at the age of 27 when North began finding meaning in his family.
North credits his three years long trip to Spain, Costa Rica and Los Angeles in his late 20s with helping him find meaning. After quitting a high-paying job and shelving everything he thought he knew about the world from living in Colorado, North began a journey that took him from youth into adulthood.
“I learned what I wanted and what I didn’t,” North said. “I found myself. I found my wife. Well, she found me. I found direction.”
North may have found meaning in his family because of his parents’ divorce when he was little. After they separated, he spent most of his time with his mother and sister. North has three daughters, so the experience living with women is being put to good use.
All of these changes were rooted in what made North happy and he encourages students who do not have the luxury of a three-year soul search to find meaning in what makes them happy.
“Do what makes you, and the others around you, happy,” he said. “As long as it is legal in some states.”
North’s philosophy comes from his work ethic. Self-described, he is a little bit of a tinkerer.
“I always want to see what I can streamline and make more effective or make more enjoyable,” he said. This same outlook is applied to his life and can be seen in his changing philosophy. Kurt has found meaning in what makes him happy, and as the source of happiness changed over time, so has what gives his life meaning.
As he moves into his 40s, North expects to find meaning in establishing his place in the world on professional, personal and social levels. North currently owns his own marketing company and looks forward to watching it grow in the coming years. He also hopes to provide internship opportunities to students in the near future.
North has a unique connection to the university not many professors have. North is a 1999 graduate of CSU.
“When I came up here, it just felt right,” he said, describing how he came to find a home at CSU. “The town, the campus, the department and the student body that just seemed to be exactly what I was looking for in my next step.”
He has a lot of advice for current and future students who have and will find a home at CSU. His advice is simple: go to class. Just being present and attentive is a huge key to succeeding in college.
“For every class you miss, just take $40 out of your wallet and burn it. How many times would you be willing to do that?” North said.
North draws similarities between this and the working world. “If you don’t show up, you won’t be around for long.”
If that’s all too much, North suggests you find happiness elsewhere.
“Go start a business, develop an app, get a job or at least beg your parents to let you move back into their basement.”