[WE Talk] Jordan Cherin: On Philosophy, Running and Computers

Jordan Cherin

On Philosophy, Running and Computers

On this episode:

  • Competing in track and field at a Division I school
  • Balancing majors – philosophy and Computer Information Systems
  • Advice to a young athlete

Episode Transcript:

Nita June:  Hello, and welcome to WE Talk, a podcast that explores the role of Waldorf education in helping children, parents, and families thrive in an ever-changing world. WE Talk is brought to you by Shining Mountain Waldorf School. And this is your host, Nita June

Good morning. Good afternoon. Good evening. Wonderful, WE Talk listeners. I warmly welcome you to this next episode, where I interview Jordan Cherin, who graduated from Shining Mountain with the class of 2016. Jordan then went on to run DI track at University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Texas, and major in computer information systems and philosophy. Thank you so much for being with us today. Hope you enjoy the show.

Jordan, thank you so much for joining me today on this episode of WE Talk.

Jordan Cherin: Hey, I’m happy to be here.

Nita June: Awesome. And you indeed are near. You’re back in Colorado after graduating 2016 and going on to the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio. You are back in the Denver Boulder area. Can you share with our listeners just a little bit of what attracted you to UIW and maybe just kind of your time since you graduated, what you’ve been up to?

Jordan Cherin: Sure. So I think when I was looking for colleges, I was kind of focused on three main things. One was being family. I have a lot of family in Texas  and San Antonio specifically. My dad is there. And so I was able to go be closer to him and kind of build a stronger relationship with him and my extended family there. So that was kind of my main reason. And then second reason was track. I was able to run D1 track there and run competitively. And that really drew me to that school and being able to run out of school where I’d make a difference and not just be another runner on the team, that was really appealing. And then the third thing I was kind of looking at was the school and what I’d be studying there. And so I kind of just yeah, chose based off of those three things.

Nita June: Awesome. Yeah. Family is so important. I find that even more now just coming out of COVID too. We’re going into COVID really, but our community. And right, that you could run on a D1 team and right, not just be one of gazillions of other runners there and that the school itself too, has a mission and a purpose to it. Yeah. So you ended up majoring in computer information systems and minoring in philosophy, which I just love. I feel like the combo is such like a Waldorf combo in some way, that balance. When you entered in your first year, Jordan, did you know that you were going to major in those two areas or that you had interest in those two areas? Or how did that play out?

Jordan Cherin: Yeah. So yes and no. For computer information systems, I knew I’d be going to do that. I was very interested in computers and that was kind of the closest thing with that. And then for philosophy, I kind of just picked that up just to do it. Going into my senior year, I was talking with my advisors and my major didn’t complete all of the credit hours that I needed to graduate so I could either pick up a minor or just take a whole bunch of BS classes to just get the extra credits. And so I chose to just pick up a minor and I had already taken a couple of philosophy classes. So those helped just go towards that and then picked it up for my senior year just to do it.

Nita June: I love it. What was the first philosophy class that you took?

Jordan Cherin: Yeah, it was just the introduction to philosophy basic course. At my school, we had to take one philosophy course and one religion course, and then one upper division of one of the two, just for general requirements. So I had taken the intro to philosophy and I think it was a logic class and I had one professor for both of those. I really liked him and he kind of inspired me to continue studying philosophy there.

Nita June: So you had this philosophy class, the intro to philosophy class, and then the logic class. And I’m actually so impressed that you… We all have our different interests, of course, and strengths, but I just remember I took an intro to philosophy class and a logic class and I just remember being really overwhelmed by the logic and reason side of it. And I wonder, for you, was that something that you felt clicked for you and/or had any overlaps with your computer information systems, kind of the way that you think about both of those?

Jordan Cherin: A little bit. Yeah. The logic class was one of my favorite classes, I think, over my four years. And I think the professor helped. He was a great professor, but yeah, I think the logic class kind of just made sense.

Nita June: I love that it made sense for you. It’s so… The reason it made sense for me. That felt like it should and I just… I don’t know.

Jordan Cherin: It was a really fun class, lots of just different little logic puzzles and stuff that we would do.

Nita June: Nice. Nice. Did you have Mr. York as a teacher?

Jordan Cherin: Yeah.

Nita June: Yeah, I remember just all the different math puzzles and little puzzles.

Jordan Cherin: Oh, yeah. No, and I think that too, I remember, I think we took a… Or he taught a philosophy of math course or philosophy and math, something like that. And so that also, I think, pushed me to continue that. I really liked that course with that class with Mr. York.

Nita June: Nice. And then in terms of your… The computer information systems degree, is that like coding, is that looking at creating systems? Tell me a little bit more about that because I don’t know what that degree really entails or is about.

Jordan Cherin: Yeah. So the way I describe it is computer science is more the programming and the people who are really engineering the programs and creating all of the tools we use and stuff like that. And then computer information systems is more implementing that. And so it’s more hands-on repairing the computers or networks or all of that. So it’s more, I think, broad and general hands-on skills with different computers and networks and systems like that.

Nita June: Nice, super applicable. You’re always going to have a job!

Jordan Cherin: Yeah.

Nita June: Yeah. To step off of kind of the academic side for a little bit, when you were at Shining Mountain, you were quite a star athlete and set many a school record. I think your name is still hanging up there on the board across many of those records there in the festival hall. And as you’ve noted, you also ran track at UIW. You said it was D1. You went there so that you could run, and make a difference, really be a part of this team. How was that experience for you?

Jordan Cherin: Overall, it was great. I loved it. Getting to compete at that level was amazing and super cool experience. And then, yeah, just the bonds you make with your team and it really made me fall even more in love with sport and competing and that whole world.

Nita June: Yeah. I can imagine. It’s just like the facilities that you must have been to and just all that support, especially in contrast to running around the field. Shining Mountain, it’s so cool during the pandemic.

Jordan Cherin: Not having a track.

Nita June: Right. Yeah. You get the real experience of just running though. Yeah. In addition to this, your track and field experience, how do you feel like the transition from the small, held community of Shining Mountain was into… The University of the Incarnate Word’s not a huge school, but it’s definitely bigger than Shining Mountain. And just then going to college in general. How was that transition for you?

Jordan Cherin: Yeah, definitely bigger and definitely San Antonio is a much bigger city obviously. So it was kind of a shock to be honest, definitely a shock, but I have some family there, so that helped a lot, going to be closer to the family. And then I had the addition of my track family. So I kind of was automatically stuck in with a group of people and I feel like I didn’t have to hunt to go find my group of people. So that helped a lot.

Nita June: Totally. Yeah. Did you have to go early before school started? Did you guys have any…

Jordan Cherin: Yeah, we started a couple of weeks before school, so we were in the dorms, just us, and I think some of the other sports were there before everyone else moved in and started having practices. We went to a teen camp up in the Hill Country of Texas and just spent some time together getting to know each other and bonding.

Nita June: How fun. That’s really awesome.

Jordan Cherin: It was great.

Nita June: And then, so you mentioned, right? Just that challenge of transition, which I think is real for everyone, regardless of really where you go to school. It’s just a big change going off to college. Do you feel like there were any successes that you had that, I don’t know, perhaps were based off of just this very different education that you would come from or anything that you were like, “Oh wow,” like in a class or in a relationship with a peer professor that you were like, “I probably got that from Shining Mountain.”

Jordan Cherin: Yeah, absolutely. I remember in just my basic composition class, peer reviewing other essays. And when I was at Shining Mountain, I never felt like I was a very good writer because I think compared to some of my classmates, I wasn’t, but then comparing myself to more just, I don’t know, other random people, I feel like I was, yeah, very prepared in writing and a lot of other subjects where I didn’t really care about them at Shining Mountain. I didn’t feel like I was good at them, but I still picked up a lot and yeah, I felt very successful in that.

Nita June: Nice. I hear that a lot, whether it’s art or some… Like a hand work or ability to communicate or whatever it is of like, “Huh. Right. I didn’t realize I was good at that because I had so many other people who I felt like were more talented at it around me.” But then you enter the bigger world and see like, “Oh, what? Right. Not everybody knows how to crochet or weld that all together.”

Jordan Cherin: Yeah, it’s funny you mentioned that because I started knitting in class to help me focus instead of doodling and knitted a little bit, me and my friends, some beanies.

Nita June: Oh my gosh. I bet your peers love that. But that’s the coolest thing. So that’s great Jordan. I love that. So you are now… You’ve graduated. Congratulations. Graduation during the time of COVID. Well, pre-COVID. And experienced all that. And now you’re back in Colorado. You’re back in Denver. You’re working at a data center and you’re also coaching at Shining Mountain. How has it been in this next transition to return back to Colorado and to be working at well, where you’re working and the Shining Mountain.

Jordan Cherin: Also a shock, I would say. Texas is very different. And so coming back to live here full-time has been interesting. And then also, I moved back during COVID. They kicked us out of the dorms at school, so I had to move back. And so it’s just been another transition, but I’ve really enjoyed it. And especially starting coaching, that I think has been the big highlight of the year. It’s, yeah, I think something I’ve really enjoyed and want to really continue.

Nita June: That’s so great. Jordan. So you’re coaching the middle school track and fields, right?

Jordan Cherin: Yeah. Yeah. I’m the assistant middle school coach and I’ve been helping out the high school here and there as well.

Nita June: Oh that’s fantastic. That’s fantastic. And likely to continue next year, do you think?

Jordan Cherin: Very possible. Yeah.

Nita June: Nice. I’m sure everybody would love to have you there. Being back at Shining Mountain, what comes up for you? Do you look back at yourself, you have memories of yourself and think like, “Oh, I wish I had done that or I wish I had known X, Y or Z.” Any of those reflections?

Jordan Cherin: Yeah. And this kind of is going back to what we were saying with the writing and hand work and all of those things that I don’t think I really appreciated while I was at Shining Mountain. Getting to do music all that time. I think a lot of that stuff I took for granted and yeah, it was definitely a really cool experience that I got to have.

Nita June: Yeah. I think that just the well-roundedness right? It’s just, you’re like, “Here I am singing now. Here I am. I’m running now. Here I am carving a stone that it’s just normal.” But then you leave and you’re like, “Huh. The rest of the world doesn’t do these things very well.”

Jordan Cherin: Not at all.

Nita June: Totally. Yeah. I remember feeling so similar to that.

Jordan Cherin: Yeah. But at the same time, I think it was really good going to the school I did because it was kind of the opposite. Even though it was a private university, it had a very different vibe, a lot of people who have gone through normal high schools and lower schools. And so I think getting to also experience more diversity and that was a great experience as well. And unfortunately, I think, very lacking just in Boulder in general. I think that was one thing that was tough for me, especially, so getting that yeah. The college experience was much needed.

Nita June: Absolutely. Yep. Broadening your worldview.

Jordan Cherin: Exactly.

Nita June: Yeah.

Jordan Cherin: I think that’s something that Shining Mountain really sets you up to do. And so then you just got to afterwards go out and do it and start exploring and see new places. Yeah.

Nita June: My last question for you today, as you’re working with middle schoolers and high schoolers, what words of advice might you give them as they’re looking to their future?

Jordan Cherin: Yeah. My advice would be to just try and be better than you were yesterday and it doesn’t really matter what, just try and do one or two things better than you did yesterday and always just focus on being the best you can be.

Nita June: I love that. Yep.

Jordan Cherin: Every day.

Nita June: I love that.

Jordan Cherin: And sometimes, maybe you’re not, maybe you’re worse, but then you’ve just got to be better at being worse than the last time. If you get knocked over, just work on getting up quick. There’s always something you can control and always something you can do better at.

Nita June: Nice. Wise words, my friend. Well, when I first saw you a couple of weeks ago and heard you’re back at Shining Mountain, I just was immediately struck by this sense of what a gift you are to the students. From having taught you so many years ago in your senior play and you’re just a gem, Jordan. Yeah. So I’m glad. So glad that you’re back at Shining Mountain.

Jordan Cherin: Thank you.

Nita June: So glad to be speaking with you today. Appreciate your time.

Jordan Cherin: Yeah. It was great talking with you.

Nita June: Yeah. You too, Jordan. And maybe we’ll do another one in a year from now, see where you are coaching and what next job is taking shape for you, know what you’re walking into.

Jordan Cherin: Yeah.

Nita June: Okay.

Jordan Cherin: Lots of big things coming.

Nita June: Good. Good. Good. Good. Like to hear that. Nice, sweetie. Okay, Jordan. Well, take care. Hope you have a great rest of your day and appreciate you being on the podcast with me.

Jordan Cherin: Thank you. Thank you. Have a good day as well.

Nita June: Thank you for listening to WE Talk, brought to you by Shining Mountain Waldorf School and hosted by Nita June Davanzo. WE Talk is made possible because of listeners like you, who invest in the production of the show. Share your appreciation for what you’ve heard today. Help us explore the value of Waldorf education in preparing our children for the future by going to patreon.com/wetalkpodcast. If you’d like to be interviewed, have a suggestion for an episode head or simply wish to share feedback, please email us at wetalk@smwaldorf.org.