When Christopher Sweet moved from North Dakota to Illinois, he had no plans other than to be closer to his girlfriend (now wife). But with a natural interest in education, he was drawn to Harper College where he took a job as a cashier at the cafeteria and worked hard towards his associate degree.
Through this experience, and the abundance of Harper students and employees that he met, he discovered his true calling. With a passion for history, mythology and literature, Sweet recently obtained his bachelor’s degree in history from Southern New Hampshire University and is on track to fulfill his dream of becoming a teacher.
These days, he’s busy working as the general manager of Sodexo. But when he’s not running the food service on campus, Sweet can be found spending time with his wife and daughter and daydreaming about that teriyaki salmon from the restaurant he can’t remember the name of...
My daughter. My whole world changed when she came along. She got me thinking harder about who I wanted to be and what I wanted to do with my life. I love every minute I get to spend with her.
A couple years ago, my family and I went to a park and there was something special about it. The way the sun was shining on the grass, watching my daughter run around in her little jean jacket; she was so cute. I’m not a religious person but I remember thinking in that moment, “If there’s somewhere we go when we die, I hope it looks something like this.”
Wolverine. As somebody who loves history, the fact that he’s lived so long would make for some really fascinating conversations. I’d want to know what was going on at the time, how he experienced it and what he learned from it. Not to mention, I would always be protected.
Tiger Army is my favorite band, I have a tattoo of their slogan “Never Die.” But I also love International music like Wardruna, and bands from my youth like The Cranberries. So if I had to pick a playlist, I’d go with these:
I think people are sometimes hesitant of my appearance. The gauges, the tattoos, etc. But once they get to know me and see my personality, they learn I’m just a big teddy bear.
It’s my dream to visit some of the world’s ancient places like Rome, Greece, Mesopotamia, Iraq and Iran. I’ve been told by mentors that when you touch physical objects from the past, it’s a profound feeling.
In all honesty, my wife’s cooking. She cooks amazingly well! But aside from that, I once ordered teriyaki salmon from a hotel restaurant in Chicago and I haven’t tasted anything like it since. It was salmon, but it was like eating candy! I wish I could remember the name of the hotel, but it was one of the best meals I’ve ever had in my life.
I wonder about the future. As a society, we’re constantly having this pull to the past, when there are very real problems that lie ahead of us. Let’s start thinking about our children and those who are going to have to answer to those problems. What tools can we give them to create more opportunities, confidence and most importantly, empathy?
I’d say the future is also something I’m hopeful for! Just looking at my daughter fills me with hope. How she loves to explore and learn about the world. How she wants to be something and do something with her life. Children are so capable and by treating them as such, we can set them up to take on any challenge.
First and foremost, the community. Starting out as a cashier in the cafeteria was a great way to get to know everyone from students to faculty and staff. So many memorable conversations and interactions over the years have made Harper feel like home. Also, Harper has really given me the opportunity to grow. Not just academically, but again through the people I’ve met who have inspired and encouraged my journey from the start. There’s a strong culture of creating those avenues of growth at Harper and that’s really an amazing thing.