Nick Bonds Overcomes Obstacles on His Longboard – and in Life
Kindness, creativity, calculus: CBE student rides to the finish with four majors
Nickolas (Nick) Bonds is constantly analyzing the obstacles on his routes as he longboards across the University of Idaho campus in Moscow. Whether it’s the salt and rocks dispersed on the sidewalks, or the logistics of going from Point A to Point B, the fall 2018 graduate perpetually relies on tactics learned in his classes to overcome obstacles along his commute.
“Knowing how physics works helps you avoid painful situations involving physics,” Bonds said, acknowledging he still crashes his board on occasion.
Bonds has almost certainly interacted with every student in U of I’s College of Business and Economics (CBE), where he loads up on as many as 21 credits each semester and even audits other classes to learn more about their subject matters. He’ll graduate in December 2018 with four majors for a bachelor’s degrees in business, a minor in statistics, a certificate in entrepreneurship, a graduate certificate in human resource development and half the coursework for his planned master’s program.
“I pursued four programs because I had the opportunity,” Bonds said of his heavy course load. “If I have financial aid that’s going to pay for another three semesters and I could finish another program, why wouldn’t I do that?”
He’s done all this while managing Type 1 diabetes in his daily life and combating the challenges of dyslexia in the classroom.
“Nick’s a fighter,” said Erick Larson, the assistant dean for CBE who has advised Bonds since he started taking courses at U of I in spring 2015. “The more he’s pushed, the more determined he is to get through it.”
A Creative Approach
Bonds, now 25, transferred to U of I’s Moscow campus from North Idaho College in fall 2015 with credits in business and engineering. After some “personal growth” during spring 2017, he decided to stop taking electrical engineering courses and pick up more business classes.
Bonds’ majors include operations management, human resource management, marketing analytics and management information systems. He thinks he would be happy in an analytics position or something focused on human resource management.
“A big interest of mine is understanding how bureaucratic systems affect the people within them,” Bonds said.
He remembers transferring schools as a middle schooler and having to repeat a math class he’d already taken because a process wasn’t in place to ensure he was in the appropriate class. Bonds was also penalized in that class for not showing his work – he solves problems in his head and having to show his work on paper impedes that process.
“A lot of creativity can be stamped out of people. Most of the time, the most creative answer doesn’t win, the correct answer wins,” Bonds said. “That’s not always a bad thing, but there are situations where the creative side needs to be recognized.”
Bonds thinks giving students some leeway in making decisions about their education process opens up their options.
“When you start to push people into really rigid systems or structures, it can be very delimiting,” Bonds said. “One thing I think that might help is to try and develop a system where students can moderate the speed at which they learn.”
Bonds hopes to work in education someday.
“One of my aspirations is possibly to attain a superintendent position at one of the school districts so I can resolve some of the difficulties the system imposes on students unintentionally,” Bonds said.
To build on the management aspects of his undergraduate work, Bonds plans to earn his master’s in adult organizational learning and leadership through U of I’s College of Education, Health and Human Sciences. He likes that the coursework pertains to how leadership is perceived and he wants to learn more about how organizations develop. Bonds took four graduate-level courses in summer 2018 to prepare for the program – during which he also made the dean’s list.
“I don’t normally sign off on someone taking 21 credits per semester, which Nick has done multiple times, but he’s convincing. He lays it all out,” Larson said. “He has also audited classes he thinks will help him learn and connect the dots.”
One of Bonds’ favorite courses as an undergraduate was in psychology.
“The biggest thing that stands out with Nick is his kindness. Anybody who encounters Nick recognizes his genuine kindness.”Erick Larson, CBE Assistant Dean
"I found mindfulness and well-being to be one of the most valuable courses I took because it assisted me in developing an understanding of the oversights and shortcomings intrinsic to my personality, and in turn assisted me in efforts to overcome obstacles that were otherwise in my blind spot," Bonds said.
Eventually, Bonds wants to return home to Coeur d’Alene to run the stereo store his father ran before passing away.
“The biggest thing that stands out with Nick is his kindness,” Larson said. “Anybody who encounters Nick recognizes his genuine kindness.”
Throughout his time at U of I, Bonds has found ways to creatively approach the world.
“I often try to take what I’m learning in my courses and expand on that in my own life in as many creative ways as possible,” Bonds said. “Even riding my longboard down the street I can see multivariate analysis at play, especially when they dump rocks for ice. Before street sweepers come through, the rocks start to group into patterns like they do in multivariate analysis.”
Article by Emily Bailes, College of Business and Economics
Published in December 2018