The surprise entertainment to the new students during orientation last week was nothing less than “legen…(wait for it) …dary.” Actor, film writer and director Josh Radnor, famously known for his role as Ted Mosby in the smash hit How I Met Your Mother, surprised the new students at Orientation 2 weekends ago.
Wearing jeans, a plaid shirt and a boot for his broken foot, Josh Radnor sat down on stage and casually answered questions ranging from who is the mother on How I Met your Mother to questions about life for over two hours.
Josh Radnor was born and grew up in Bexley, Ohio, a small town nestled in the town of Columbus. After graduating high school, he attended Kenyon College in Ohio, receiving his B.A. in Drama.
He went on to graduate school at New York University, earning his Master of Fine Arts Degree in acting. Radnor started his road to acting when he “half-accidently” stumbled into an audition for a high school musical.
“I was asked to keep my friend company when she was auditioning for a musical in high school,” said Radnor, “I was watching these guys get up and I kept thinking ‘Man these guys aren’t that good’ and then they asked me if I wanted to audition and my friend pulled me by the shirt and I ended up getting one of the leads. Once I got on stage, it was kind of like, why have I been wasting so much time not being on stage? I felt at home immediately”.
Throughout the next few years, Radnor experienced both achievements and failures.
“I worked in theater, did some television and then had everything that could happen to you happen,” Radnor told us. “I was fired from a pilot, a pilot didn’t get picked up, I was always doing stuff, just not anything notable. Then a show like How I Met your Mother just hits, and all of a sudden your life looks a little different.”
Although Josh Radnor is most well known for his role as Ted in How I Met Your Mother, his real passion lies in writing and directing film. He has written two films, Happythankyoumoreplease, and Liberal Arts. Both films premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, where Happythankyoumoreplease won the ‘Audience Award’ and was further nominated for the ‘Grand Jury Prize’.
When asked about his college experience at Kenyon, Josh Radnor related it to one of his films he wrote and directed, Liberal Arts. “I started to love reading in college.”
“I turned from being a good student in way that was all about getting into a good college and getting a good job, and transitioned into loving learning. And you know, like all idiots, I drank a ton of beer. I really had a very complete college experience.”
For Radnor, college was more about the love of reading and learning than anything else.
“When thinking about Liberal Arts, I didn’t want to make a movie that was the college experience we had seen, that was all ‘fraternities and sororities’ and ‘nerds against jocks’. To me the movie I wanted to see was the relationship between teachers and students, and people loving their classes and people getting fired up intellectually, because it’s like, yeah it’s like people do go to class and actually like learning!”
Radnor’s conversation later with over 1400 students taught us not only that Ted Mosby will never end up with Robin, but more about how we should think of ourselves as we either start or near the end of our college career. His biggest advice to the new students focused on finding out who we are as a person.
“Get a proper relationship to your mind,” he says. “I think we have to understand how powerful our minds are. So, just develop a relationship with your thoughts, and realize that every thought isn’t valid. If you have a thought that is horrible, don’t accept it. You can let it go. Just get a relationship to the part of you that is underneath your mind that is very real and eternal, and getting a dialogue with that part of your self will help you develop who you are.”
Aside from building a relationship with yourself, Radnor advises to be present as much as possible.
“You’ll have moments where you’ll realize, oh this is happening, and this is life happening You’ll realize that’s your home and that’s your true place. The most interesting part of you will always be your mind.”
Sam Ellison contributed to this interview.