Important Life Lessons I Learned From Two Coaches

Important Life Lessons Learned From Two Coaches

See the good in what they do and the importance in their lessons.

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At this point in my life, I have gotten nostalgic about things from video games to moments with my older brothers. Perhaps it is a result of getting older and looking back on my life.

One good result of this is that I have come to appreciate people that were in my life. The only regret I have is that I wish I realized at the time how much they helped or taught me. In particular, I have thought of two coaches that tried to teach me important life lessons. Their advice is applicable at the moment, even though they told it to me back in sixth, seventh, and eighth grade. Perhaps they are lessons even adults should consider.

The first coach was Rob at the YMCA gym close to where I lived. During middle school, I went into PA Cyber Charter School and joined home school programs to socialize with other kids. Rob truly pushed us physically to run laps, do push-ups, jumping jacks, etc. An example was running two miles without stopping on the track. It was physically exhausting, but a good challenge for us. But the focus of each class was not just on physical performance. Rob taught us to think of all of our classmates as teammates and to support one another all the way to the finish line. Nobody was to brag that they did better than someone else nor were they to put someone down for not performing at the same level.

This does not mean nobody won a game. There was plenty of competition and there were losers in a game of dodgeball. But Rob structured the class in such a way that the other students and I respected each other. It taught selflessness and how to encourage others when it was needed. It is difficult in today's world to see our coworkers and neighbors as teammates since we have a tendency to judge people harshly. But when we decide to look at it from a team perspective and decide to respect others, communities are improved and strengthened.

The other coach was coach Gerald. He did another home school gym program at a church. He is a skilled basketball player that nobody should underestimate. He too pushed me physically in exercise (again it was a good challenge). The program's activities varied over time. First, it involved different games, like kickball or basketball. Later on, I went to a basketball camp he hosted that was for late middle school and early high school students. However, whether it was the home school program or basketball camp, he took a period of time to do a devotion with us. Gerald was a strong Christian and he built his programs off of Christian beliefs. He wanted us to discuss life and its struggles rather than just have a fun game of basketball.

One lesson that I remember he taught back in middle school was how life is not a straight line like the side boundary of a basketball court. The line looks more like a heartbeat. It means that life is not just smooth sailing or a constant phase. It is constantly changing from happy, dopamine-filled moments to life being outright hell. He told us that is just the way life is and we have to accept it. Coming from the Christian perspective, he encouraged us to trust God in those moments. One other lesson he taught was simple but important for me. It was that most of the things that happen today will be forgotten tomorrow. Your argument with someone in a basketball game or a silly mistake with a foul shot won't be brought up tomorrow. Believe it or not, this took a while for me to accept because I myself would hold on to small issues that should have been forgotten. Eventually, I realized the importance of letting go of minor problems that did not matter in the grand scheme of things. They should not ruin friendships or your enjoyment of life.

Unfortunately, I have not seen these coaches in person since middle school. I hope, someday, to run into them again. If I do, I will thank them for passing on their wisdom and advice to me. In general, just reflecting on these two coaches makes me realize how many people in my life from childhood to the present have helped me to find the truth and the right way to live. So many adults in our lives have helped to shape us into better men and women for the future. For me, I wish I had valued their advice more in my middle school years and implemented it better in my life. At the very least, I see the good in what they do and the importance in their lessons.

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Stop Discourging Future Teachers

One day, you'll be thankful for us.
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“What do you want to be when you grow up?" It seems like this is the question we heard from the time we were able to talk. Our answers started out as whatever movie or action figure was popular that year. I personally was going to be Cinderella and shoot spider webs out of my wrists at the same time. The next phase was spent choosing something that we read about in a book or saw in movies. We were aspiring to be actors, skydivers, and astronauts.

After we realized NASA may not necessarily be interested in every eager 10-year-old, we went through the unknown stage. This chapter of life can last a year or for some, forever. I personally did not have a long “unknown" stage. I knew I was going to be a teacher, more specifically I knew I wanted to do elementary or special education. I come from a family of educators, so it was no surprise that at all the Thanksgiving and Christmas functions I had actually figured it out. The excitement of knowing what to do with the rest of my life quickly grew and then began to dwindle just as fast.

“Why?"

"Well, looks like you'll be broke all your life."

“That's a lot of paperwork."

“If I could go back and do it again, I wouldn't choose this."

These are just a few replies I have received. The unfortunate part is that many of those responses were from teachers themselves. I get it, you want to warn and prepare us for the road we are about to go down. I understand the stress it can take because I have been around it. The countless hours of grading, preparing, shopping for the classroom, etc. all takes time. I can understand how it would get tiresome and seem redundant. The feeling a teacher has when the principal schedules yet another faculty meeting to talk an hour on what could've been stated in an email… the frustration they experience when a few students seem uncontrollable… the days they feel inadequate and unseen… the sadness they feel when they realize the student with no supplies comes from a broken home… I think it is safe to say that most teachers are some of the toughest, most compassionate and hardworking people in this world.

Someone has to be brave enough to sacrifice their time with their families to spend time with yours. They have to be willing to provide for the kids that go without and have a passion to spread knowledge to those who will one day be leading this country. This is the reason I encourage others to stop telling us not to go for it.

Stop saying we won't make money because we know. Stop saying we will regret it, because if we are making a difference, then we won't. Stop telling us we are wasting our time, when one day we will be touching hearts.

Tell us to be great, and then wish us good luck. Tell us that our passion to help and guide kids will not go unnoticed. Tell us that we are bold for trying, but do not tell us to change our minds.

Teachers light the path for doctors, police officers, firefighters, politicians, nurses, etc. Teachers are pillars of society. I think I speak for most of us when I say that we seek to change a life or two, so encourage us or sit back and watch us go for it anyways.

Cover Image Credit: Kathryn Huffman

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NC State Class Of 2023, This One Is For You

Tips to not look like a freshman.

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As I finish out my first full year of college here at NCSU, I realize how much I've changed since my first weeks on campus. I understand how to make my way across campus without looking like a total div. Take these tips that I learned and use them!

1. Do NOT wear your key lanyard around your neck

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If you do this, people will know for sure that you are a freshman. The dorm keys you have? Don't show them off. They aren't that cool. Instead lock those keys onto a bracelet, wallet or phone.

2. Get Tapingo

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Tapingo is an app connected to your Wolfpack One card that allows you to order food from anywhere on campus ahead of time. This SAVES more than enough time since you get alerts on how long it will take and how many people there are ahead of you. Then you can just pick it up and go.

3. Do not order from Jason's Deli and expect it to be fast

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Jason's Deli is well known on campus for taking forever to make their food, even if you order ahead of time on Tapingo. It also just isn't worth it.

4. The best places to eat...

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One Earth located in Talley near the outdoor elevator. Starbucks located on the groundfloor of Wolfpack Outfitters. Los Lobos in the Talley common area. Brickyard pizza at the Atrium. SmoothieU at the Atrium. These are some of the freshest, best options that a lot of people forget about.

5. The worst places to eat...

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Tuffy's diner. Port City Java. They aren't bad but they aren't good. Cheap for sure, but tons of calories and probably frozen.

6. Download the electric scooter app

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Sadly Lime scooters are leaving Raleigh before you guys get here. But we have some new ones coming in that look just as cool. These bad boys are fun and save a TON of time when walking across campus!

7. Use Uber or a friend when attending games

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Football and basketball games are very popular. The Red Terror bus that can take undergrads for free to Carter Finley and PNC get very crowded very fast. So if you chose to ride them, get there early or push your way through. But it's hot, crowded, and not fun and takes forever so it's better to just pay the money to Uber or get a friend who has a car.

8. Bring water to the games

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The football games get SO HOT. Most people leave after the first quarter if they can even make it to that. Recommend to bring water. It will be much more enjoyable that way.

9. Do not feel pressured to go out to parties every night

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Parties are fun and all, but my biggest mistake was going to so many within the first few weeks and spending tons of money on ubers or hurting my feet by walking so far. They aren't worth it. Much better to hang with friends and do game night at someones apartment or dorm.

10. Be friends with your RA

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RAs are usually super nice and can help out with so much whether that be stress, homework, etc.

11. Go to events

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Meet friends, join clubs, or get a job on campus.

12. Get a job

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Despite what you may think, since all your meals are paid for and it doesn't seem like you need much money - You will run out faster than you think. Get a job, it makes life so much easier and less yelling from parents.

13. Always go to events early for free stuff

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Better start learning how to pretend that you are interested in stuff just to get a free item.

14. Study hard, but not too hard

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Yes, college is harder than high school. But GPA is less necessary here and things count for different percentages. You won't fail and if you do, it is OK, everyone does.

15. Eat at the dining halls

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Dining halls post the menu online and guess what this food is actually good! i regret not eating it as much first semester because they have hidden gems like the pizza, omelets, and more.

16. Do not wait until the last minute to make housing arrangements for sophomore year

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Last minute meaning like November. Most people have decided where they will live by then. So make arrangements ASAP.

17. Workout

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Freshman 15 is real since you can eat and nap whenever you want. Workout - it makes you feel better

18. Don't wear the convocation shirt

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A few things about Wolfpack Welcome Week:

- Packapalooza is fun and a great way to get free items.

- Convocation is really dumb, not necessary, super boring, and wearing the shirt you get is a bad idea because that will also make you look like a freshman. You do NOT need to read the summer book, it's pointless!!

- All the other events are worth attending.

19. Do not overdecorate your room

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it just means more to take down later on.

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