This month, we have a conversation with Nick Reinhart '15, who earned bachelor's degrees in communication and in design, art and technology, along with a minor in environmental studies.
On March 1, he'll share lessons about overcoming adversity as a speaker at TEDx BellarmineU
As a recent cancer survivor, it's a topic he knows well.
Reinhart lives in Evansville, Ind., where he is a territory manager for a medical technology company.
Bellarmine: What have you been up to since leaving Bellarmine?
Nick Reinhart: When I was at Bellarmine, I had a ton of interests. So for my first year or so of working I wanted to find what I really disliked about various jobs. I was looking for a pattern to avoid. What I found was I liked working and I liked
the people at work, but a desk in an office with rigid hours and no true pay for performance didn’t inspire me to do as much as I knew I could. So I looked for something competitive, people-focused and more than a "desk in an office, clock in
and clock out" kind of position.
That’s how I ended up at one of the most prominent and technologically advanced medical device companies in the market. It’s been amazing and truly life changing. When I say life changing, I literally mean this company has changed my life. Not only do I know firsthand that our products truly impact patient care, but
I know I play a part in that when I’m asked to help out for a surgery and we get great outcomes. It’s also very challenging, which keeps it fun because we have to juggle multiple projects and logistics to make sure everything is getting
to the right place and to the right surgery.
BU: Tell us about your TEDx Talk. What inspired the topic, and what should people expect?
Reinhart: My TEDx Talk is going to be about overcoming adversities big and small -- not just the overcoming part, but what you do next.
In March 2017, I was diagnosed with kidney cancer. On May 1, I had the surgery in one of my hospitals, with one of my doctors, with my equipment and my teammates in the room. When I say life changing, I truly mean it. The surgery went off without a hitch,
but in the days following I developed some severe issues in my kidney. We opted to keep half of it because of my age -- I was not even 25 yet.
I ended up having seven operations in May because of these complications and I spent about 24 days in the hospital, then another 10 days at home with various tubes and bandages. I’m proud to say I was cleared for physical activity on June 14, and
on July 7 I ran a Spartan Race. I felt like Superman! I also felt like I had to figure out who Nick Reinhart was.
I turned 25 the week that they removed my last remaining bandages and tubes, and I became a cancer survivor.
BU: How are you getting ready for TEDx?
Reinhart: I’ve been practicing this talk in my head for what seems like forever. I'm a combination of nervous and excited. I have spoken publicly about this to a youth group I mentored in my hometown near Indianapolis before I moved, but
I know this one is going to be way different -- way bigger audience, way more publicized -- which I love.
I think some would say I’ve got a big personality, so that side of me is jacked. The nervous side of me says there is going to be some aspect of this talk I'm not going to be satisfied with, that this talk is going to be too short to really encompass
all I have to say about this.
I think I’ll write a bio before the talk so I don’t feel like I have to focus on backstory and can more focus on content.
BU: Are you a regular viewer of TED Talks?
BU: You've faced some personal adversity. How are you doing?
Reinhart: It comes and goes. Most days I feel like I’m King Kong. I think I like that descriptor because when I was in acting 101 I had to impersonate a gorilla. That worked well for me, being gorilla-shaped and all.
Sometimes though, I’ll have a flashback or somebody will start talking about cancer and it’ll take me completely out of my King Kong zone. In February, I was at a Bellarmine game and they asked cancer survivors and fighters to stand. I had
no idea what to do and I looked over to professor Linda Raymond and asked, "is that me now?" with tears welling in my eyes. Or, when I was cooking in the kitchen and Monday night football started talking about cancer and cancer survivors, a
similar thing happened. I think about it daily. But when it is out of there for a bit, then gets shot straight into the forefront of my mind... that's what causes it to mess with me.
BU: What’s next for you?
Reinhart: I think I want to write a book about it. I don’t know that I care if anyone reads it! I think I want to do it just to finally get this whole experience out of my head and make it shareable to help people. Maybe I’ll get it
done by TEDx time. I also want to continue to speak about it. I love being able to help and motivate others. Plus I love to give speeches. I often imagine myself giving various ones when I drive in the car for work.
BU: Any advice for current Bellarmine students on being as ready as possible for post-college life?
Reinhart: Do EVERYTHING! Find your limits, take more classes than you think you need, hit the gas all the time in all the clubs that interest you, but don’t get caught up in it and let drama drag you down. College is a place to mess up, but
not so bad that you don’t graduate. The classroom gets you the diploma but it’s outside the classroom that gets you the job.
Also, read books about character development -- not personality development -- and network. I networked with a guy who sent me "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People." I’d say start there.
BU: Why did you choose Bellarmine?
John Clayton -- Joe Clayton
’s son -- and I were very good friends
in high school and to this day. His father Joe was very adamant that all of us in our friend group at least look at his alma mater. I did, and I liked the energy of Bellarmine's campus. It was growing.
I always looked up to Joe very much. At a reception in Indianapolis, he shared that a big reason why he was able to accomplish all he did was because of Bellarmine. I believed him and committed right then and there. I'm proud to say it’s true. The
strong foundation I received at Bellarmine has set me up for success.
BU: What's your favorite Bellarmine memory?
Reinhart: When I was a mascot I loved nothing more than to hear Knights Hall roar when the Knights made some big plays on the basketball court.
When I was a senior at our ADG annual meeting, we won almost every award and I actually planned that conference, so that was really rewarding and fun to see as well.
BU: Can you sum up your Bellarmine experience in five words?
Reinhart: My Bellarmine experience was a well-rounded experience because of these 5 things:
Scholastic, school-spirit, service, spiritual and social.
If you count "school spirit" as one word, I made it.