This column is devoted to highlighting staff members that play a huge role in the everyday experiences of the Lawrence community. The goal is to focus on the “Hidden Figures” of Lawrence University and their interests both within, and outside of Lawrence.
At the Warch Campus Center, Antonio Rockett sees it all. Rockett is an administrative assistant, most recognized by students as the face behind the information desk during the third shift from 10 p.m. to 8 a.m. Rockett’s main role is to oversee information desk duties, which include making sure tech crew completes room set-ups, preparing room signs and completing other tasks to ensure that Warch will be ready for the following day.
This coming September will mark four years since Rockett began his position at Lawrence. Rockett has seen the transformation of the Senior class from brand new freshmen to college graduates. Rockett reflected, “This year’s senior class, I started with them. I have seen people make a progression in the people they are and it is nice to see.”
Rockett has been working third shift jobs for a total of twenty years and he says he doesn’t mind the long nights, remarking, “I like [the third shift]; it’s peaceful for the most part.” Rockett says the most important part of staying awake through the night is to get ample sleep during the day. “Usually I sleep for a few hours in the morning after I get done with work. And then I will try to get a few more hours before I get here. I’m so used to it now; it’s not a big deal,” he commented.
Rockett has worked the third shift in paper mills and was also a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) for six years in nursing homes. Rockett said he really enjoyed his CNA work, adding, “I never thought I could really do it until I had kids. Once I had kids, [you realize] there are a lot of similarities; [the] people are just older.”
Rockett loves his job at Lawrence, and he said the time he has during the third shift, along with the tranquility and the view are the highlights of his position. Although Rockett misses out on the sun rise (the Warch information desk faces the West), he enjoys watching the sun set quite a bit, which he thinks is just as nice!
Furthermore, Rockett said that his favorite aspect of the job is that he has plenty of time to study for his classes. Rocket is a full-time online student at the University of Phoenix, currently working towards a Bachelor’s degree in Business. Therefore, the third shift allows for plenty of time to complete his work and study for classes. “It doesn’t really take me long to do what I need to do. I can usually get it done within the first couple of hours,” Rockett commented.
Although Rockett does not have much free time outside of his job, he has started working out again, and also studies if he has time during the day. “I like to catch up on sleep if I can,” Rockett added. Rockett is also a big fan of basketball, and likes to follow LeBron James. Additionally, Rockett is always up for listening to 90s R&B and hip-hop music.
During the day, Rockett also appreciates the few hours of time he gets with his identical twin daughters. His daughters go to Appleton West High School and they are looking into future college plans after high school.
Naturally, Rockett said that the most important thing to him outside of his job are his children. He commented, “[I am] just trying to get [my daughters] through college. They are a big reason that I am still in the area, and so I will be dedicating the next five years of my life working here until they graduate.” Even with a different career path in mind, Rockett is focusing on his current position in order to provide for his kids.
When asked about the “Lawrence Difference,” Rockett explained: “College life is kind of a lot [about] people doing new things, trying new things and meeting a lot of new people.” Rockett believes that maybe more than any unique ‘difference’ in Lawrence students, he notices the student interactions, changes and overall excitement that are a part of the Lawrence University experience.
The excitement on campus only seems to be increasing as the year draws to a close. With LUaroo this weekend and less than two weeks until finals, it seems that so much is happening in this short amount of time. The graduating seniors are reflecting on their four years of life at Lawrence, and Antonio Rockett has had a front row seat to the everyday life of those students as well! So, before heading out for the year, remember to thank the staff that we see every day. These are the people that may know us well, even though we may not know them.