Nursing major lives life in the moment - The Lookout - LCC's Independent Student Newspaper Since 1959
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Nursing major lives life in the moment

Nursing student

LCC student Riley Lanz is pursuing a career in nursing.  Photo by Mallory Stiles

Mallory Stiles

By Mallory Stiles
Editor in Chief

As devastating as losing someone you love dearly can be, sometimes that same loss and grief can be used as fuel to push forward. Just ask LCC student Riley Lanz.

Lanz, 44, is now pursuing a career in nursing after the recent death of his grandfather, Ted White, who was taken by an incredibly-corrosive stomach cancer.

“He just passed away this last fall,” Lanz said. “I was out there for a month spending his last days with him. I wanted to do it. He was a really good man, one of the biggest influences in my life.

“He was so wise and always had a lot of good advice. He taught me to think things through.”

Lanz said he enjoyed being there for someone in his most vulnerable moments and discovered a passion.

Before enrolling in school, Lanz had a 20-year career at a packaging company as a digital press operator, but said he had no problem walking away. That was something he definitely WASN’T passionate about.

“I Just didn’t like what I did,” he said simply. “I was so couped up. When I quit that job, I went and did van life for a couple years and traveled all around the United States. It was really fun. I needed that.”

Buckling down, he recently sold his van, referring to it as “the end of a chapter.”

Surprisingly, Lanz is a father of two and a grandfather of one, but still finds time to be a great study partner to fellow classmates like Abigail Beltran.

Beltran said she has a decent grasp of the subject matter, but that she does better because of Lanz.

“I ace my exams because of him,” Beltran said. “He got a 100 percent on his last exam and I got a 99.5 percent, so he is my competition. I have known him a couple of months; we met in class. He is a good student; top of the class.”

Lanz has three younger brothers and commends his mother for keeping them all alive growing up.

“It must have been hard,” he said with a crooked smile. “She did a good job.”

He said his father was a colorful character who lived a lot of life in his time. Lanz said his father is still alive and in Kentucky with his brothers, giving him a place to visit when time permits.

Lanz said he loves anything outdoors and that his hobbies include, but are not limited to, hiking, kayaking, backpacking and teaching yoga.

He was born in Lansing but considers himself from Portland. He wants a dog but doesn’t have the time and hates going to zoos because he doesn’t like to see caged animals; it’s sad to him.

His favorite movie is “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” and his favorite book is “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle. Lanz loves all things yellow, like the sun and banana salt water taffy.

He doesn’t know exactly what he wants to do after LCC’s nursing program, but also said the idea of “long-term goals” was never something he could fully accept.

“Let’s just focus on today and do the best we can,” he said. “It leads to something great.”

Lanz described himself as more spiritual than religious; he believes that there is a certain danger in religion. He said the past and future are our mind’s illusion and if he has learned anything in life, it’s to be as present as possible.

“Live in the present moment,” he said. “That’s where life exists.”



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