Student Athlete

(asap)To The Student-Athlete Who Isn't Done Yet

No matter if you have one season left or your career has not yet begun, do not take a single second for granted.

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Playing sports has been a monumental part of my life so far, and some of my fondest memories have come from being on a basketball court. The friendships I formed among teammates are bonds that are stronger than some other friendships. I depend on them more and have a feeling of safety, belonging, and oneness that is irreplaceable.

Take it from me, when your last season is over, it is undoubtably heartbreaking.

As the final seconds countdown and the buzzer sounds to mark the end of your last game, your heart will break. As you walk off the court and to the locker room, with sweat and tears pouring down your face, you await one last post-game talk with your team. Those sweaty huddles of victory or frustration are the special moments you will miss the most.

The tears continue to fall as you take your jersey off for the last time and imagine who might wear it next. No one ever told me about these feelings. No one ever told me what it felt like to grasp the fact that you will never step foot on a court in the kind of way again.

So, I encourage you to take advantage of your last season.

The only thing that seemed to ease my pain was hearing my coach and teammates tell me that I made a difference for them. Not just as a basketball player, but as a leader and a friend, I was able to make a different for them, and that meant more to me than any victory.

So, for those of you going through your last season, do not waste it. You may not realize it now, but there will be a sports-shaped hole in your heart the second that last game ends.

Play with all your heart, love and appreciate your team and coaches, hold on to every second and every memory, and give it your all so you can leave a great legacy behind for those that come after you.

Cover Image Credit:

Mackenzie Battaglia

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​An Open Letter To The People Who Don’t Tip Their Servers

This one's for you.
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Dear Person Who Has No Idea How Much The 0 In The “Tip:" Line Matters,

I want to by asking you a simple question: Why?

Is it because you can't afford it? Is it because you are blind to the fact that the tip you leave is how the waiter/waitress serving you is making their living? Is it because you're just lazy and you “don't feel like it"?

Is it because you think that, while taking care of not only your table but at least three to five others, they took too long bringing you that side of ranch dressing? Or is it just because you're unaware that as a server these people make $2.85 an hour plus TIPS?

The average waiter/waitress is only supposed to be paid $2.13 an hour plus tips according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

That then leaves the waiter/waitress with a paycheck with the numbers **$0.00** and the words “Not a real paycheck." stamped on it. Therefore these men and women completely rely on the tips they make during the week to pay their bills.

So, with that being said, I have a few words for those of you who are ignorant enough to leave without leaving a few dollars in the “tip:" line.

Imagine if you go to work, the night starts off slow, then almost like a bomb went off the entire workplace is chaotic and you can't seem to find a minute to stop and breathe, let alone think about what to do next.

Imagine that you are helping a total of six different groups of people at one time, with each group containing two to 10 people.

Imagine that you are working your ass off to make sure that these customers have the best experience possible. Then you cash them out, you hand them a pen and a receipt, say “Thank you so much! It was a pleasure serving you, have a great day!"

Imagine you walk away to attempt to start one of the 17 other things you need to complete, watch as the group you just thanked leaves, and maybe even wave goodbye.

Imagine you are cleaning up the mess that they have so kindly left behind, you look down at the receipt and realize there's a sad face on the tip line of a $24.83 bill.

Imagine how devastated you feel knowing that you helped these people as much as you could just to have them throw water on the fire you need to complete the night.

Now, realize that whenever you decide not to tip your waitress, this is nine out of 10 times what they go through. I cannot stress enough how important it is for people to realize that this is someone's profession — whether they are a college student, a single mother working their second job of the day, a new dad who needs to pay off the loan he needed to take out to get a safer car for his child, your friend, your mom, your dad, your sister, your brother, you.

If you cannot afford to tip, do not come out to eat. If you cannot afford the three alcoholic drinks you gulped down, plus your food and a tip do not come out to eat.

If you cannot afford the $10 wings that become half-off on Tuesdays plus that water you asked for, do not come out to eat.

If you cannot see that the person in front of you is working their best to accommodate you, while trying to do the same for the other five tables around you, do not come out to eat. If you cannot realize that the man or woman in front of you is a real person, with their own personal lives and problems and that maybe these problems have led them to be the reason they are standing in front of you, then do not come out to eat.

As a server myself, it kills me to see the people around me being deprived of the money that they were supposed to earn. It kills me to see the three dollars you left on a $40 bill. It kills me that you cannot stand to put yourself in our shoes — as if you're better than us. I wonder if you realize that you single-handedly ruined part of our nights.

I wonder if maybe one day you will be in our shoes, and I hope to God no one treats you how you have treated us. But if they do, then maybe you'll realize how we felt when you left no tip after we gave you our time.

Cover Image Credit: Hailea Shallock

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I Miss Home... But I Won't Admit It If You Ask Me

Me? Homesick? Never.

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And yet, here I am admitting it. I'm admitting that I miss home from time to time and the only thing keeping me going through these next few weeks is the thought of summer. No school and no homework or finals and just being home.

But being home means lounging on the couch watching movies, being in a town where everything is basically always the same (for as good or bad as that might be), and being around the bright, happy, fluffy face of my 12-year-old golden retriever who always welcomes me home. Even being able to drive (I really miss being able to drive) is something I miss and spending time with my parents is still pretty nice most of the time (love you guys).

And really somehow, I find myself missing home from time to time. Although, I usually blame it on something arbitrary like stress or anxiety or even just being tired of campus or something as simple as I miss my dog. Missing home is a common occurrence for college kids, no matter how far you live from campus or how old you are, but that doesn't mean it gets any easier to admit.

In all honesty, part of the reason I don't want to express how much I miss home or my family is that I don't want to seem non-independent. I don't want to appear needy or that I have regrets about where I am. I knew before coming to college that I'd have to deal with not being home when I always wanted to. I do love where I'm at and know that despite missing home, I'm where I'm supposed to be. I'm pursuing a career that I'm passionate about and ready to dive into where this career takes me in life, despite the times I doubt it and myself.

Even then, I do wonder about what my life would be like had I made different decisions: from if I had stayed in-state for school to what if I had chosen a different major and even any of the other thoughts that make me wonder "What if…" But in all of this, I do know that I wouldn't have met the amazing people who are in my life and having the experiences I have or even learning about a career which has so many angles to it it's almost crazy.

I wonder about my path in life and if I'm making the right decisions now to lead me on a course for a successful life later on. I, like everyone else, doubt myself. But that's not to say that this is where I let myself get held back. No, if anything this is all the more reason to pursue the life I want and have the experiences to fulfill goals and create memories and so much more.

So yes, I miss home. Am I confident in saying this? No. But that's okay. I know for a fact that I'm not the first college kid to have missed home. Nor do I think that it's something should just be blamed on stupid little reasons. Home might not always be where you're from, but it's something that you will always love and treasure and is what makes you, you.

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