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Benjamin Wagner, songwriter and executive producer of MTV News Digital spoke and performed a song to an intimate crowd of about 30 students at the Bill Bordy Theater last Sunday.

“It’s a lecture and a rock show,” Wagner said.

Wagner summarized the last 34 years of his life in hopes of explaining how who he was as a little kid growing up in Washington, DC led him to who he is today As he spoke about his life, he continually emphasized the significance of asking for help when you need it.

“Don’t be afraid to ask,” he said. “People like to help people.”

Wagner also stressed the importance of following through, especially when going out for jobs and internships. One of his current duties with MTV News Digital is running the internship department.

“In nearly 10 years at MTV news, I’ve hired four of my thirty or so interns. I’ve hired the ones with moxie; the ones who follow through even on even the smallest assignments; the ones who work until the work is done.”

Aside from his lecture, Wagner played a song called Summer’s Gone. The song, a short acoustic based number, has a special meaning for the singer. In September of 2001, Wagner played the song for Mister Rogers and his wife.

“My music doesn’t pay the bills,” he said. “But it does feed the soul.”

Wagner concluded the evening by reminding the audience members of their unlimited potential. He also stressed the philosophic value of keeping a balanced perspective on the present in the context of the future.

“You can be anything you want to be,” he said. “It might be a long, circuitous path to get there. And when you get there, it might not look like you imagined. Plus it’s going to constantly change. But keep it deep, keep it simple, and you’ll get there. Take your time. Relish the journey.”

“Because I know that, right now, it seems like it’s all about being there. But trust me on this: it’s all about getting there.”
– By Lloyd Nelson III