We may not have as many exams, but the paper load evens that out.
The season is by far the most exciting time of the year. Big plays, good memories, traveling new places, and winning championships... But yet another promise is that season is also exhausting.
You are going to get tired. You are going to get worn out...
But remember that this season of your life doesn't last forever. Remind yourself why you play.
You play this sport because you love the game. You love the competition, you love your teammates and the friendships that you've formed, you love the lessons you learn aside from the physical aspect.
So each day, continue to choose the game.
It's not easy. But if it was, everyone would do it. But discomfort is where progress happens.
Quit dreading practices, quit wishing for rain, quit complaining about conditioning, and quit taking for granted a busy schedule that is literally made just for you. Tens of thousands of young girls and boys would do anything to be in the position (literally) that you are in. Take advantage of being a role model to those young kids who think the world of you.
Freshmen, this is what you have wanted for so long. Take advantage of the newness, take advantage of the advice, encouragement, and constructive criticism that your older teammates give you. Soak it all in, four years goes by really quickly.
Sophomores, you now know how it works. Be confident in your abilities, yet continue to learn and grow mentally and in your position.
Juniors, prepare to take the lead. Use this season to, of course, continue to sharpen your skill, but also recognize that you're over halfway done, so mentally and physically ready yourself to take the seniors' lead next year.
Seniors, this is it. Your last year of playing the sport that you love. Be a good leader, motivate, and leave your mark on the program in which you have loved for so long. Encourage the athletes behind you to continue the traditions and standards set by the program. Lay it all on the field, leave it all on the court, and leave your program better than you found it.
Take the season one day at a time and, each day, make it your goal to get better. Get better for your team, for you pushing yourself makes everyone else work even harder. So even if you don't get a lot of playing time, make your teammates better by pushing yourself so hard that they have no other choice than to push themselves too. And when a team has every single player pushing themselves to the max, success happens.
Take advantage of this time with your teammates and coaches, for they won't be your teammates and coaches forever.
No matter what year you are and no matter what your role is this season... GROW. You are an integral part of your team and your program.
When deciding whether or not I wanted to attend the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the fact that the College of Education is so small was one of the deciding factors for me. The university is so big but since the College of Education has slightly over 600 undergraduates, it kind of makes for the best of both worlds. Now, a lot of people may think that because it's so small it isn't as great as the Gies College of Business or the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, but I have to say, there's a lot of things that make us the best on campus.
1. The convenient location
This might just be my bias coming in given I live about a 10-minute walk from the College of Education, but it genuinely is close to everything. Whether you're coming from the Main Quad, the South Quad, or even the Ike, our College is always right there.
2. The sense of community
I've said this so many times, but walking into the UIUC's College of Education always feels like a big hug. The first day I became a part of the College, I immediately felt welcomed by all of the faculty and staff. Especially since there's roughly 150 freshman, it makes it so easy to feel like you mean something to every staff member.
3. How they support you personally
I could walk into the building and take a nap and the faculty wouldn't think anything of it. They always have little snacks for their students and constantly remind us that no matter what we do, they're always there to support us. They obviously help us achieve academically, but the staff knows how to support us as people in our entirety.
4. The endless opportunities
I know every college on our campus provides endless opportunities for their students, but I really feel like the sky is the limit when it comes to the College of Education. They have programs for students that want to major in education without graduating with a teaching license and even have opportunities for us to student teach across the globe. Whether we want to minor in bilingual education or conduct research with a professor on special education, they always point us in the right direction.
5. Amazing professors
Last semester I had a professor for my honors education course, and the first day of class he made sure that we knew to call him by his first name rather than "professor." Not only do the teachers in our College treat us like we're equals, but they know how to teach us things that have value. They don't expect us to care about finding the standard deviation in math, so rather they teach us how to better engage our future students when we have to teach the same thing.
6. The variety of classes
There are thousands of great courses at our university that aren't through the College of Education, but our college has classes that I never would've thought would exist. This semester I'm taking a course in which I am able to volunteer and teach adults how to read and write. I'm super passionate about everything education, but no matter who you are in our college, there's definitely a class that speaks to you.
7. The students themselves
College of Education students, in my opinion, are unlike those in any other college. Most teachers have a certain personality type, as do most professions, and it's really awesome to be around a bunch of nice people that are really similar to you.
8. Their weekly emails
Every week the College of Education sends out emails to all the students highlighting our achievements and stating things we can get involved in throughout the month. They love to highlight students that are involved in the community and are always sweet enough to encourage us to continue growing.
9. How involved the faculty is
Although our advisors have pretty busy schedules, they're always sure to be involved in what's going on in each student's life. They know nearly everyone by name and remember little details about our lives on campus.
10. The legacyGiphy
A few months in to my first semester here, one of the very well known professors, Dr. Zola, passed away. Even though the atmosphere was very sad, you could tell that his legacy will live on forever. He was a professor that believed that every student has promise and truly knew how to find a spark in everyone. The legacy of education lives on no matter what.
There really is no place on campus for me like the College of Education. I always leave there feeling inspired and having met someone new and amazing. Our college may be small and not as grand as the other buildings, but the people and opportunities that lie inside are truly what makes us the best.