As I head into my last year as a student-athlete in college, I’ve reflected on what I have learned in the past years. I have grown as an athlete and as a person, and I would like to share with you some lessons that I have learned:
In my school, academics came first, sports came second. Having this mentality helped me to know how to prioritize what I needed to get done first, second, third, etc. Understanding what your priorities are helps you to make better choices. For example, if you choose to go out and party rather than study for an exam, chances are you will not do as well if you didn’t make the time to study your first priority. In life, and especially for jobs, time management is a CRUCIAL skill to have in order to meet certain deadlines!
A team will only stand strong if they spread positive energy to everyone. Even if you don’t have the greatest game or practice, knowing you have your teammates there to back you up may be all that you really need to keep going. It seems small, but trust me, it makes a BIG difference. Everyone needs that extra support every now and then. In life outside sports, if you spread kindness and positivity around everywhere you go, chances are that kindness and positivity will come back to you!
3. Mind Over Matter
My coach has pushed us HARD with our training, and we all have grown so much stronger because of it! I have laughed, cried tears over both joy and frustration, and have gotten so angry with myself that I felt like quitting. In any sport, it takes more than just physical strength to overcome obstacles. It also takes mental strength as well. If you believe in yourself, if you have the confidence that you know how to achieve your goals, then half of the battle is already won.
Injuries happen, and you have the choice to either quit or bounce back as quickly as possible. In life, frustrations, heartbreak, and many other things can get us down, and it affects how we go about our days. With every injury as well as personal struggles I have had to overcome, I have found myself feeling more determined than ever to get myself back up. In life, sure, it’s frustrating to get knocked down, but you can’t stay knocked down forever. It’s okay to get down, but you have to eventually pick yourself back up and keep going. I like to think the more times you get down, the more likely you will want to get back up as fast as possible, because you start to develop a thicker skin, making certain problems not as “problematic” for you.
5. Push, Push, and Push Some More
I have learned so much about Cross Country as well as myself as a person. Truthfully, you never stop learning either. Because I have this yearning to learn, I also have this desire to push myself above and beyond my limits. Also, like any other athlete, I want to push myself to be better, faster, and stronger than ever before. I’ve carried this with me into my life with everything else I do whether it’s for school or work. Going above and beyond, exceeding the expectations, giving everything you have…that kind of ethic will shine and inspire many others to do the same.